How to become a foster parent


How to become a foster parent

Enquire now

At Orange Grove, we are dedicated to nurturing people and building long-lasting relationships with both our children and our foster parents. If you are committed to the same belief, then we want to hear from you. 

Applying to become a foster parent with us is easy. All you need to do is complete our online form (or call 0800 369 8513), and we’ll get back to you quickly for a friendly informal chat. There’s no pressure to take things further, but it’s where your journey to becoming a foster parent begins.

How long does it take to become a foster parent?

On average, becoming a foster carer takes four to six months. The standard fostering process takes between 4 to 6 months. After an initial chat, if you want to take things further, there’s a standard 6 stage fostering process that we follow.

foster children in the UK

Take the First Step

Enquire About Fostering

Thinking about fostering? The first step is to give us a call or submit your details through our online form. One of our friendly fostering advisors will give you a call for a quick informal chat and to answer any of your questions.


Step 2

The Home Visit

We'll speak to you from the comfort of your home - either face-to-face or via video call - so we can get to know you a little better and give you all the information you need to know about fostering.

About our home visit

Step 3

Foster Care Application Form

When you're ready to move forward with your fostering journey, you'll need to submit an application form. This will be reviewed by our assessment manager and if successful, you'll begin your assessment.

Apply to foster

Step 4

The Assessment

The assessment process involves a series of social worker visits, the collection of checks and references, as well as some initial training to give you the skills you need to hit the ground running.

Fostering assessment

Step 5

Fostering Panel & Approval

Once your assessment is complete, you'll attend a fostering panel where an independent group of individuals will review your assessment and make a recommendation on your approval.

Fostering panel

Step 6

Matching Foster Placements

Behind the scenes, we’ll be working hard to match you to the right child. This could be pretty much straight away, or it might take a little while, but before long you’ll welcome your first foster child.

Your first foster child

how long does it take to become a foster parent

Supporting you every step of the way

While the process to become a foster parent is in-depth and often quite intrusive, your assessing social worker and local team will be with you every step of the way.

It's a lot to get through but it's well worth the effort to have a career in foster care, and to begin caring for a child!

Take your first step

Learn about all the types of foster care placements we offer...

Find Out More

Frequently asked questions

Who can apply to become a foster parent?

Almost anybody can apply to become a foster parent, as long as you meet the following basic criteria:

  • You're over 21 years old
  • You have a spare bedroom that's permanently available to a child
  • You have the legal right to live and work in the UK
  • You're passionate about making a life-changing difference to children in care

It doesn't matter if you're single, gay, married or straight and we encourage applicants from all ethnic backgrounds to join our team. The children we care for come from all walks of life and so we want a diverse community of foster parents to meet their needs. 

You also don't need any experience or qualifications to apply as we provide you with all the training you need to be confident in your role. Although, you will find that some previous experience with children, either in a professional or personal capacity, is beneficial. 

Find out more

Do I need to have a spare room to foster?

Yes - a spare bedroom is essential and will need to be large enough to hold a single bed, a wardrobe and a small desk. 

Learn more about the requirements of a spare bedroom and why it's important that children in care have their own space below. 

Find out more 


What does the application process involve?

There are a number of stages within the fostering assessment, including:

  • Social work visits with an assessing social worker – normally 8-10 visits across several months
  • Background checks, including an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service).
  • Personal and professional references
  • Training to prepare you in your role as a foster parent

All the information gathered throughout the process will be brought together in a Form F report and presented to an independent fostering panel, who will make a recommendation on your suitability to foster.

The process generally takes 4-6 months to complete, however, timescales may vary depending on your personal circumstances.

Find out more about the fostering assessment

What checks are carried out?

We’ll carry out various checks, such as an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service), local authority and health and safety checks, as well as collect a number of personal and professional references.

These checks and references are a vital part of the application process to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children and young people we may place with prospective foster parents. 

Find out more about foster carer checks

More FAQs

Got some more questions? Find out the answers here.

View all FAQs

Speak to our team

Whether you’re ready to start your journey or just want to chat to an expert, we're here to talk.

Please make sure you read our terms and conditions because you're agreeing to them by submitting an enquiry. It's also worth reading our privacy policy and cookies policy so you understand how we collect and use your personal data.

Ready to start your fostering journey?

By phone

One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.

0800 369 8513

Live chat

Have a live chat online with one of our dedicated fostering professionals

Chat Now

Your local office

We have local teams covering most of England. Find your local office today.

Find local team