Becoming a Foster Parent

How do I become a foster carer?

There is no greater reward than providing a home for a child who needs it. While we encourage anyone to apply, we have a thorough assessment process to make sure every carer is able to provide a stable home. Don’t worry, 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 know that you will have a hundred and one questions about becoming a foster carer. After all, it is a huge decision to make. Feel free to give us a call at any time and someone from the team will be happy to talk things through with you.

Contact our advice team

Step 2: The home visit

We love to learn as much about our carers and their lives as we can. So, having had a chat with the team and decided you want to join our wonderful group of carers, we will come round for a home visit. This is helpful as it allows you to speak to a qualified social worker and ask any more questions you may have before the application process begins.

The home visit

Step 3: The application form

Now you’ve made your decision, it’s time to start filling out the forms. To get started we’ll ask you to complete a foster carer application form which will assign you a social worker. Your social worker will be there to guide you through the application process and will visit your home many times along the way 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. Remember, your social worker is there to help, not judge, so feel free to ask lots of questions about everything you need to know to become a great foster carer.

The application form

Step 4: Assessment

We realise this can be the stressful part of the application so we try to do everything we can to make it as smooth as possible. The assessment can take between four and eight months so we split it into different stages to make it more manageable. During the first stage, we gather personal details such as medical records and financial checks. Then we will look to see if you are suited to some of the more complex types of foster care, such as children with disabilities and challenging behaviour. Finally, we set your panel date where it will be decided whether or not you are ready to become a foster carer. Remember, our team of experts is still available for support throughout this time.


Step 5: Skills to Foster

We want you to be as well prepared as possible when you become a foster carer. That’s why we encourage you to take our Skills to Foster course while you are waiting for your assessment to go through. This will enable you to meet other potential foster carers and learn as much as you can so that when the time comes you are ready to hit the ground running in your new life 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

You’re nearly there. After the assessment, your Form F and background checks are presented to the panel, which is made up of a variety of different professionals from a fostering, educational and care background. We try to make you as comfortable as possible so the meeting is set at your local fostering offices and you will have your social worker by your side the whole time. There is nothing here to be nervous about as your social worker will have prepared you in advance for any question that might come up. 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

The application process is finally over and your life as a foster carer is about to begin. Our team will now match you with a child and you can begin to create the loving and stable home you have always imagined. Our team of experts remain on hand so don’t hesitate to ask us if you need any help or advice.

Approval granted and first placement

Want to know more about fostering?

Request our fostering guide

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