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.
1. Take your first step – can you foster?
Foster parents come from all walks of life – they can be single, married, gay, bisexual, transgender and more. A strong desire to provide a child with a stable, loving home is what’s most important.
Almost anyone can apply to foster, so long as you are over 21, are a British Citizen and have a spare bedroom.
2. 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 talk you through the role of a foster parent, training, support and allowances, and give you an opportunity to ask any of your questions. We will also ask you a few questions about yourself, your family and your motivation to foster, so we can get to know you a little better.
After this visit, you should have all the information you need to decide whether fostering is right for you.
If you decide to progress, you’ll need to submit an application form. If accepted, we’ll start your fostering assessment.
3. 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.
4. Attend 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 attend this meeting and may be asked some questions by panel members.
The panel will then make a recommendation about your suitability to foster to the agency decision maker. You’ll be informed of the decision within 7-10 working days of panel.