How to become a foster parent

The process to become a foster parent may not be as difficult as you think – we aim to complete our fostering assessments in 4-6 months.

We’re here every step of the way to guide you through your assessment and ensure you complete key foster carer training, so you feel confident and prepared for your first child.

So, what’s the process to become a foster parent?

The first step

We understand that becoming a foster parent is a big decision – our fostering advisers are on hand to talk you through the role of a foster parent, training and support provided, allowances and more, so you can decide whether you’re ready to start your fostering adventure.

We’ll also check that you meet the minimum criteria to foster:

  • Over 21
  • British citizen or have leave to remain
  • Have a spare bedroom
  • A strong desire to make a difference to a child’s life.

To start your journey, simply submit our online form and we’ll call you back or call us directly on 0800 369 8513.

Home visit

After your initial chat with our team, we’ll arrange to visit you at home to discuss fostering in a little more detail. We’ll ask you some questions, so we can get to know you and your family, and your motivations to foster, as well as answer any questions. We’ll also look around your home to make sure it’s a suitable environment for a foster child.

When you’re ready to progress, you’ll need to submit an application form which will be reviewed by your local team manager. If accepted, we’ll start your fostering assessment.

Fostering Assessment

The purpose of a fostering assessment (also known as a ‘Form F’) is to verify your suitability to foster and ensure that you’ll be able to provide a child in crisis with a safe and nurturing family environment. We gather this information through a series of social work visits, where we explore your family life, childhood, work experience, health and finances, as well as conducting vital checks and references.

You’ll also complete various foster carer training ahead of panel, including our introductory course ‘Skills to Foster’.

Learn more about the fostering assessment.

Panel

Before becoming approved, every foster parent is required to attend panel. This is where your completed fostering assessment is presented to an independent panel of professionals, including social workers, care leavers, education specialists, health workers and more. You’ll be required to attend this meeting and may be asked some questions by panel members.

The panel will make a recommendation about your suitability to foster.

Decision

The agency decision maker will then review your assessment and panel’s recommendation, in order to make a final decision on your approval. You’ll be informed of the decision within 7-10 working days of panel.