How to Become a Foster Carer

As you'd imagine, the journey to becoming a foster parent is a thorough, considered process.

We do everything possible to ensure our foster children and foster carers are protected and supported. That's why we take our time to get to know you and your family, establishing your suitability and hopes for your new fostering career.

The assessment process to become a foster carer is multi-staged and is filled with discovery, support and questions. The process takes time and patience but Pathway Care work very closely with you to help you every step of the way. Our friendly, knowledgeable team are on hand to guide you through everything.

Let's have a look at the typical steps to becoming a foster parent.

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1. An informal chat.

This first chat, normally carried out on the telephone, is simply for you to learn more about becoming a foster parent. There’s no assessment just yet so feel free to ask any questions you have. Our Pathway Care team help you decide if fostering is a good fit for you and your family. We're here to give you information, answer questions and talk you through what comes next if you decide that you wish to become a foster parent.

All my questions were answered and my worries dealt with in one phone call, I wish I’d done it sooner.

Paul - Approved 2011
Step 1 in becoming a foster parent is calling us for an informal chat
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2. Still interested? We'll pop by for a home visit.

Following our initial chat, a member of the Pathway Care team will visit your home. This step is all about meeting face-to-face and having a more detailed discussion about the fostering application process and the various requirements which need to be met, such as the fostering national minimum standards. It’s a good opportunity for us to gather some basic information for your application too, talking you through what comes next on your journey to become a foster parent.

Step 2 in becoming a foster parent is a home visit
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3. Filling out your application form & beginning your assessment.

With the home visit complete, we can start to fill-out your application form. Once the form is accepted and successfully processed, an assessing social worker will be assigned to you and your fostering assessment process will begin. They will visit your home up to ten times, gathering the information they need about you and your family to ensure you meet the high fostering standards we aim to provide. This data will form your Form F – a report to show your case for becoming a foster carer. Your assessing social worker is there to support and guide you through this process so be sure to ask questions and use this time to become as fostering-savvy as possible.

Step 3 in becoming a foster parent is filling out your application form
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4. The fostering assessment process.

This typically lasts around four to eight months and is staggered over multiple stages. Your assessment is designed to check, verify and confirm your suitability for fostering. From collecting references to running medical and financial checks, this is a varied process. Your Panel date will be set at the start of the fostering assessment process. Your Panel day is where your Form F report will be presented to our fostering panel for review.

We were kept informed throughout the assessment process, and our Supervising Social Worker was really supportive.

Diane & Mick - Approved 2013
Step 4 in becoming a foster parent is the fostering assessment process
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5. Induction training.

Whilst in assessment with us, we invite you to attend our 'Skills to Foster' foster carer training course. It's a 3 day course designed to help prepare you for your fostering experience. You'll be introduced to fellow prospective carers and taught the necessary skills you'll need for your first placement. Whilst your attendance and performance at the course is assessed as part of your application, the course is as much about engagement and fun as it is about training, so immerse yourself in the event and learn as much as possible.

Step 5 in becoming a foster parent is your induction training
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6. Assessment is done! Your panel meeting is next.

Today is the day that your Form F report is submitted to the fostering panel. This panel is a collection of childcare professionals assigned to discuss, review and assess your application to see if you meet the various fostering requirements and that you are suitable to become a foster carer. This meeting takes place at our very own Pathway Care offices with your assessing social worker right by your side. Our panel will ask you questions about the report and consider your ability to foster.

The Panel members were all really friendly, this put us at ease straight away and it made the meeting much easier.

Ruth - Approved 2008
Step 6 in becoming a foster parent is your panel meeting
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7. The decision is made.

The panel will carefully consider your assessment and will make their recommendation as to your suitability to foster. They don't make the final decision however, as this is made by the Agency Decision Maker.

Step 7 in becoming a foster parent is the panel making their final decision
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8. Your fostering adventure begins.

By this stage your application to become a foster carer will have been approved and you can call yourself a foster carer. Well done! Your career in care starts today. You'll shortly be matched with your first placement - a very exciting time indeed! You're not on your own though - our team will continue to guide and support you every step of the way.

There was no time to be nervous, you just jump in, and soon it was like the children had always been in our home.

Jenny & James - Approved 2006
Step 8 in becoming a foster parent is where your fostering adventure begins
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What next?

If you’d like to start your journey into fostering, there’s loads of ways you can get in touch. Request an information pack from us and we’ll get one sent out to you in the post straight away, alternatively you can request a callback and one of our friendly advice team will ring you for a chat. Click on one of the links below and get started.

Request a
call back
Request an
info pack
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