How To Become A Foster Parent

How to become a foster parent

The ultimate guide to becoming a foster parent with Orange Grove.

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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.

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 your 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

Start your fostering journey here

Download our brochure and discover everything you need to know about fostering with Orange Grove.

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.

Requirements to foster

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.

Spare bedroom requirements in fostering

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.

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.

Foster care background checks and references

Start your fostering journey

Complete the form below and one of our friendly fostering advisors will be in touch shortly.

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. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google privacy policy and Terms of Service apply.

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

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Your local office

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

Find local team