Foster carers and menopause

A significant number of foster carers across the UK will be impacted by menopause in some way or another. Menopause is a typical part of every woman’s life and can also affect trans men and non-binary people who were assigned female at birth. Research, knowledge, understanding and public awareness regarding menopause such as the varying symptoms and its impact on daily life, work and relationships has gained a growing awareness and deepened our understanding of this normal part of development. For some people, day to day life will continue without significant changes; however, for some, additional support and understanding to manage symptoms will help.  

Recognising menopause as a relevant health factor for both carers and their partners and providing the right support can improve a foster carers sense of wellbeing and resilience whilst providing continuity of care to children.  


The symptoms of menopause are described as being experienced by women of any nationality and by any person subject to those specific hormonal changes which includes some non-binary or transgender foster carers.  

Symptoms can manifest physically and psychologically and can impact on a carer’s daily life whilst trying to balance caring for children. The Fostering Network does not offer medical advice and would suggest seeking further information online: Menopause - NHS   

According to The Menopause Charity, Menopause refers to the time when you stop having periods and officially refers to the single day when you haven't had a period in 12 months. While the average age of menopause in the UK is 51, it can happen earlier (from 40), prematurely (under 40), surgically, or late menopause (after 55) and the transition to menopause for each person will be different, it can last months or years but on average it is four years. 

The symptoms of menopause are wide ranging and experienced differently by everyone. Some will experience a range of symptoms whilst others very few. Symptoms can interrelate with each other, for example hot flushes at night can make it harder to sleep, so you may feel more tired and irritable during the day. 


Fostering and menopause

While each individual will experience menopause differently, some symptoms that may specifically impact on a foster carer in their caring for children may include low mood, anxiety, problems with memory or concentration, headaches and migraines and difficulty in sleeping.     

The care of children and maintaining a stable, caring home for them is vital; however, the menopause can be particularly challenging for foster carers as they manage their symptoms whilst caring for children of all ages with varying complexity of needs within their own homes. A foster carer experiencing symptoms of menopause for example may be caring for young babies and children and this requires a lot of physical energy. Or they may be caring for teenagers who are going through their own experiences of hormonal changes and transitions in life and the potential challenges that brings. In addition, foster carers have additional expectations on them as part of their role, for example to attend training and meetings.  

It is imperative that children continue to feel safe, secure and cared for if their foster carer is affected by menopausal symptoms. Foster carers experiencing menopause need to maintain stability and a safe space for children, and fostering services can help to minimise any disruptions within the home by working alongside foster carers to explore supports that could be put in place. 

Examples of these could include providing resources and information to carers and identifying any local community supports; developing peer support opportunities such as a menopause drop in coffee morning for foster carers; supporting foster carers in exploring their own family and friends support network for support such as babysitting, taking children to school for example when needed. 

Principles for supporting foster carers experiencing the menopause 

  • There has been an increasing amount of research and publicity about the menopause and its impact in recent times. While it is a natural event and transition, it can still be a difficult topic to recognise and share. It is important that foster carers know they can raise this subject if it is an area they are struggling with and that they will be supported and understood.  

  • It is imperative that fostering social workers have a good understanding of menopause and its symptoms and potential impacts for foster carers whilst caring for children and young people. Having this knowledge and understanding promotes open and honest conversations with carers whilst reducing the concerns for them of potential stigmatisation when they raise the subject. It allows those who support foster carers to understand the experience of and symptoms of menopause which can vary greatly from one person to another and recognise that one person’s experience of it will be different to another.  

  • The impact of the menopause may also be experienced by partners of foster carers who are offering support within the household. It may be concerning and confusing to see their partners experience emotional and physical changes and they should be able to feel reassured that they could seek support for themselves and their partner.  

  • Foster carers should be supported in seeking menopause health advice and care from their GP. There are occasions when carers may have concerns about what is on their medical records, who this will be shared with and any implications that may arise from this for their fostering career. The medicals contain protected information therefore, services need to be mindful of GDPR and the principle of proportionality when considering sharing foster carers sensitive medical information. Services should make available to foster carers any policies and procedures governing the need for medical information for the fostering role alongside the safeguards for protecting their information. 



Fostering services should:  

  • Promote an environment where menopause can be openly discussed and considered promoting the idea that it is not a ‘taboo subject’. This could be achieved by initiating open conversations in the office, team meetings, support groups and in supervision sessions with staff and foster carers as an example.  

  • Improve knowledge and understanding by staff and foster carers of menopause, symptoms and impacts through training, inviting relevant speakers, workshops and the sharing of resources.  

  • Consider developing a menopause policy as part of a wellness action plan for their workforce to include both staff and foster carers.  

  • Provide signposting to advice and support to those carers experiencing the menopause.  


Foster carers:  

  • If foster carers are experiencing symptoms of menopause their GP should be able to offer health advice and support in the first instance.  

  • If the fostering role is being affected by menopausal symptoms foster carers should feel confident in having safe, supportive and open conversations with their supervising social worker or other worker about any challenges they are experiencing and that the children they care for continue to be cared for in a stable and consistent manner. 

  • Foster carers should be aware of any organisational policies around menopause. 


Further information:  




Created: February 2023