There are many questions that arise when considering whether to foster. Among them, many potential applicants wonder how important it is to have a driver’s license and whether this is a requirement. At Orchard Fostering it’s a requirement for a foster parent to have an Irish driver’s license for a number of reasons. Moreover, potential foster parents may be wondering how important it is to have access to a car, and whether or not their foster children can begin learning how to drive under their supervision. 

We’ve decided to break down these commonly asked questions around driving to give you a clear insight into what’s required and expected of potential foster parents. 

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We’re available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.

Why is a Driver’s license required?

Whether or not a foster parent has a driver’s license is one of our initial screening questions at Orchard Fostering. The duties and responsibilities of a foster carer are many and not having a viable means of transportation can make life difficult both for the foster parent and the foster child. Foster parents will need to be available for meetings with social workers, with their foster child’s birth family, medical appointments, support groups, counselling sessions and so on. Additionally, a foster child needs to be transported to school every day and have the opportunity to participate in extracurriculars that may not be in the same location. It’s important that a foster parent has the capability to meet these expectations and so, we require our foster carers to have a full driver’s license. 

Do I Need to Have a Car? 

Having access to a car is important for the same reasons as we’ve explained above. It’s important that transportation doesn’t cause daily disruption to your schedule or for your foster child. Of course, there are times when public transport can be a preferable option and this is something that can be judged on a case-by-case basis in our fostering checks, but generally, having access to a car is a requirement. 

Exceptions to this rule

As we know, things aren’t always black and white and there can be minor exceptions to this rule depending on the circumstances of the potential foster parent. For instance, if a couple applies to foster and only one of them has a driving license and a car, this would be allowable should the person with the license have the time and availability for the appointments and meetings pertaining to the foster child. If they’re working full time, however, this naturally wouldn’t be feasible as they wouldn’t be available for the majority of the day. Additionally, if one partner is prohibited from holding a driver’s license, you would be required to inform Orchard Fostering about the reasons for this.  

The case of supported lodgings is also an exception. Different to long term foster care in many ways, supported lodgings is essentially an accommodation scheme for young people. In this case, carers must live in urban areas with good links to public transport. The goal of supported lodgings is for young people to learn how to be independent and so, arranging their own schedules and transportation is encouraged.  

Can foster children get their driving license?

If a young person wants to begin driving then they will be supported by their foster parents and their designated social worker who will decide how best to arrange lessons and other matters related to getting a provisional license. The foster child’s maturity and abilities will be taken into consideration (as with any young person) when embarking on this journey to ensure it’s safe for them to do so. Once they are 18, they will be allowed to sit the driving test which legally will be their own choice. 

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We’re available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.