Can I adopt or foster if I consider myself an 'older' parent?

There is no legal upper age limit to adopting or fostering

However, many agencies do follow common guidelines on a carer's age when adopting or fostering a child.


You must be over 21 years of age to adopt. Although there is no upper age limit, most agencies will not usually consider an age gap of more than 45 years between the child and adoptive parent. However, this is not inflexible, depending on what you are offering in relation to the needs of waiting children.


Foster carers who are caring on an emergency or short-term basis can foster up until 65 years, or even beyond, if there are no medical or health reasons why this should not be the case.

The average age of a permanent foster carer is believed to be over 50 years, according to the Fostering Network.

Read more about different types of foster care and what they each involve

Why not also:

  • Have a go at our quiz, all about adoption and fostering

Last updated: 11 December 13

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