How to become a foster carer

photo of man with girl

From you first getting in touch with us to becoming an approved foster carer is now very quick and efficient, taking around 6 months in total. If you want to become a foster carer then the first thing to do is get in touch so that we know you are interested. We will take your details, either online or over the phone, following that one of our team will contact you to discuss your circumstances further.

One of our social workers will come and visit you in your home. This is to find out more about you, make sure your home is suitable, and tell you more about fostering with us.

This is also a good opportunity to discuss what type of fostering may be best for you. You will need to complete an application form, which includes all your personal details and information about references etc.

If the home visit is successful you will be invited to attend the next scheduled 'Skills to Foster' training course. The sessions are usually held over five evenings over a three week period. The current format is two sessions in the first week, one in the second week, with the remaining two sessions in the final week.

During the course we will be asking you to think about your motives, ideas and feelings about fostering and what you are able to offer as individuals and families. We will ask you to consider the needs of children who experience prejudice and discrimination in our society. You will be given information about fostering so that you can explore the possible impact on you and your family.

When you complete the 'Skills to Foster' course you will be asked to complete a fostering application form. This form notifies us of your wish to progress to a full assessment.

After completing the 'Skills to Foster' training course and a fostering application you will be allocated an assessing social worker. The worker’s role is to get to know you and your family, to have further discussions with you about fostering and for you to explore the type of fostering you would like to be considered for. All members of your household will be involved in the assessment process. The assessment will include various interviews and references with family, friends and employers. The social worker will then produce a report which will be presented to the fostering panel.

The Fostering panel is made up of a number of professionals and other people with experience of fostering, who will look at your application to make sure it is robust and indicates that you will be a good foster carer. The panel will make a recommendation that you become a foster carer, which will be rubber-stamped by a member of staff known as the agency decision maker. You will then be an approved foster carer and can start fostering!

Once you are approved you will be available to foster children. How quickly you have a child or young person placed will depend on the category of children you are approved to care for. Before a child or young person is placed with you a visit will take place in your home to go through the necessary policies, procedures and paperwork as well as establishing whether or not you have all the necessary equipment.