Becoming a Foster Carer

How do I become a foster carer?

Becoming a foster carer is one of the most amazing and rewarding decisions you can make. But as you’d expect when dealing with the safety of vulnerable young children, the assessment process is very thorough. But we’ll make it as easy as possible by being on hand to support you at every step of the way.

The assessment process usually involved the following steps:

Navigate in this guide

Step 1: Contact our advice team

We don’t think for one minute that this website will answer every single one of your questions. You are bound to have questions around your own individual circumstances and that’s exactly what our advice centre is for. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk things through with you.

Contact our advice team

Step 2: The home visit

After an initial chat with our team, and you feel confident that you’d like to go ahead, our local team will pop round for a home visit. This is when we will discuss your life experience and what you hope to get out of being a foster carer. It’s also an opportunity for you to put a few more questions to a qualified social worker, and for us to learn a little bit more about you – and you’ll learn a bit more about us.

The home visit

Step 3: The application form

If you’re ready to get started, we’ll ask you to complete a foster carer application form. This will assign you a social worker who will visit your home regularly to get to know you and your family, and put together a document (called a Form F) outlining your case to become a foster carer. They are there to help you build your case, not judge you, so feel free to ask them lots of questions and learn more about becoming a foster parent.

The application form

Step 4: Assessment

This part of the process can take between four and eight months, and we split it into different stages. The first stage is where we gather personal references and complete medical, safety and financial checks. After this we look at your suitability for more complex types of foster care, such as children with disabilities and challenging behaviour. At this point we set your panel date, which is where the final decision is made about whether you are ready to become one of our foster carers.


Step 5: Skills to Foster

While your assessment is going through, you can take our Skills to Foster course. On this course you can meet other potential foster carers, get advice and learn the skills you need to be fostering-ready. It’s nice and informal, but gives you a real insight into your future as a foster carer. Sometimes we recommend that foster carers undertake the Skills to Foster course before commencing with the assessment process. We will discuss this with you when assessing your personal circumstances.

Skills to Foster

Step 6: Panel meeting

The final step. When the assessment is complete, your Form F and background checks are presented to the fostering panel. The panel is made up of people from a fostering, educational and care background, and your meeting with them will take place at your local fostering office. Don’t worry though, your social worker will be at your side throughout this meeting and will have worked with you beforehand to help prepare you for any questions. So you won’t be thrown in at the deep end, there’s nothing to feel nervous about. Following this meeting, the panel will then consider your assessment and hopefully approve you to be a foster carer.

Step 7: Approval granted and first placement

Congratulations! You are now officially a foster carer and you are ready to meet your first placement. Our team will carefully match you to the child placed in your care, and we will always be on hand to support you with guidance and advice for every single one of your placements.

Approval granted and first placement

Want to know more about fostering?

Request our fostering guide

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