Foster parent
background checks

As part of your fostering assessment, we carry out a number of background checks and follow up on references to help us get a full and all-round picture of you as a person and potential foster parent.

These foster parent checks are a legal requirement for all fostering providers, and you’ll understand why it’s important during the application process to be approved as a foster carer.

We understand that some people may find this daunting, so we thought we’d share information around some of the background and record checks we will complete and hopefully help you overcome some of your initial anxieties.

As an open and transparent organisation, you can read more about the different foster parent background checks and references we undertake below.

Learn more about the fostering assessment

What checks are completed for fostering?

Full Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS Checks)

This is for anyone aged 18 or over who’s living in your home and the criminal record checks cover any criminal convictions and cautions, as well as any other information held in police records.

We may extend DBS to anyone else likely to have regular contact with the children in your care, including partners living elsewhere or parents. If you’ve lived outside the UK for over 12 months during the last 10 years, we’ll also make additional checks.

Local Authority checks

This tells us whether you’ve had any contact or interactions with social services over the last 10 years, sometimes more.

Medical assessment

You’ll need to undertake a medical examination by your own GP, which will cover any underlying physical or mental health issues which may impact on your role as a foster parent.

Please note – having a mental health or physical disability is not necessarily a barrier to fostering. We just need to make sure you’re able to safeguard and support children and that the work won’t compromise your own health.

Home safety checks

We need to make sure your home and outdoor spaces are well maintained and safe for fostering. This covers areas such as fire safety, smoke alarms, windows, kitchens, bathrooms and toilets, as well as general safety including medicines, outbuildings and ponds.

Pet assessment

Pets can be a great asset in fostering, but we just need to be confident they’re suitable and safe around children and young people.

Financial Assessment

As a foster parent, we hope to have children appropriately placed with you whenever you are available to care for a child. However, you may experience some periods without a child in your care and we need to work with you to be sure that you'll manage financially both when you have children in placement with you and at other times.

You won't receive the fostering allowance when you don't have a child placed with you and so we need to talk to you about how you will manage these periods, including any other potential sources of income. We'll also need to see some evidence of your incomings and outgoings and may ask to see some recent bank statements.



For each applicant, two personal references will be required. This can be a friend, neighbour or co-worker who has known the applicant for over five years. A joint reference can be accepted if the referee has known both applicants for more than five years.


A family reference is required for each applicant, for example, a parent, sibling, aunt or uncle. Biological children cannot be used as a personal reference.

Employment and voluntary work

A reference from each applicant’s current employer will also be collected. If they haven’t worked for the employer for five years, an additional employment record will need to be collected for this time period.

We also require references from every employer that involved working with children or vulnerable adults. This also includes volunteer work, such as the Scouts.

Former partners

A reference will also need to be collected for all significant partners of each applicant. Generally, this is where the relationship has lasted more than two years, or they’ve lived or had children together.

Sometimes, it’s not always appropriate or in the applicant’s best interest to contact an ex-partner. In these circumstances, a reference can be provided by someone who knew the applicant at this time, for example, a relative or close friend.

foster parent background check

Fostering assessment

Background checks and references are just one part of the overall assessment to become a foster parent.

There are a number of different stages, including a series of social work visits to understand your life story and motivations to foster, and preparatory training.

Find out more

Speak to our team today

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

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