Becoming a foster carer is not a decision to be taken lightly. We have a duty to make sure that you will be a good match for the child or young person, so there is a comprehensive process to go through before you become an approved foster carer. Once we receive your formal application this process will take six to eight months.
We understand how daunting the application and approval process may seem, but there is no need to worry, we will work closely alongside you every step of the way.
We are here to help you become an excellent foster carer, and remember you can opt out at any time.
Get in touch
The first thing you need to do is get in touch. You can phone us on 0345 155 1077, email email@example.com or complete our online form with a few of your details and a member of the team will give you a call back.
Once you let us know that you may be interested in becoming a foster carer our team can start working with you to see if we’re right for each other.
We will have an informal conversation that will help you and us decide if fostering is the right career for you.
The conversation will be in confidence and in no way commits you to apply to become a foster carer.
We need to meet you
If we decide that fostering could be right for you, one of our team of social workers will come and see you at home. We will try and arrange this within ten days of your first contact.
This is a good opportunity for you to ask us any early questions you have about fostering, find out a bit more about the support you’ll get, and see how it will fit in with your family, and for us to find out more about you.
We’ll prepare a report which will make a recommendation as to whether you are ready to continue to the application stage.
If you decide that fostering is not right for you or your family, this is fine. Equally, we will be honest and will tell you if we do not think your circumstances are suited to fostering with us.
Once we’ve all agreed that a career in fostering could be right for you and your family, we will formally invite you to apply to become part of our team. We will link you with a Peer Mentor who will be there to support you throughout your journey to become an approved foster carer.
You will receive regular visits from your social worker as we work with you through the assessment process. These visits enable us to build a picture of your strengths and abilities and will explore the type of fostering that will suit you and your family best.
This part of the process can seem lengthy and may take up to four months, but is especially important.
As part of the assessment process you will need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
We will also need to carry out several background checks on you and all members of your household. These include medical reports and references.
All the checks we carry out are about safeguarding children and young people and are a legal requirement.
Sometimes through your assessment period it may become clear that your personal and family circumstances may mean that fostering may not be the right choice for your household or maybe it’s not the right time to foster. You have the right to withdraw your application and depending on your personal circumstances we may wish you to return to us in the future. If you are unsuccessful in your wish to be approved as a foster carer we will discuss this with you to identify the best way forward.
You will be invited to attend a training course called ‘The Skills to Foster’. This four-day course gives you the practical day-to-day skills needed for when you take your first child.
You will have the opportunity to meet experienced foster carers, young care leavers, fostering professionals and other prospective foster carers going through the process.
We will work closely with you over a number of weeks to ensure that we have a clear, accurate and detailed assessment that feeds into a final report for our fostering panel.
You will attend a panel meeting with your social worker to clarify any last questions you or they may have.
The panel will make a recommendation to the ‘agency decision maker’ based on your assessment and supporting documents. The decision maker will then ultimately decide if you are the right person to become a foster carer.
Once approved, you will be registered as a foster carer.