Becoming a foster parent is not as difficult as you may have imagined – from the moment you express an interest in fostering we will guide you every step of the way.
The first step you need to take is to contact us using the form on this page or by email, telephone.
We will get to know you. We will ask you some simple questions about your home, family, job and determine whether you meet our basic criteria so you can continue with your enquiry.
“I have now been fostering since February of this year, and at times have found it very challenging and stressful, but the good times have by far outweighed the bad. When I took on this job I knew it was something I have always wanted to do”.
Mr J – Foster Parent for two years
One of our Fostering Team will then arrange to come and meet you (and your partner/children, if appropriate) at your home. They will talk about the fostering process, the support we offer and check the suitability of your house. Our Fostering Manager or a Supervising Social Worker will then determine if you are suitable and you will be invited to submit your application and attend our Skills to Foster introduction to fostering sessions.
As part of the process you will undergo standard checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Local Authority. References are asked for and you will also need to have a medical with your own doctor – we will pay the cost for this report.
You will be allocated a Social Worker, who will visit you over a period of about 12 weeks to learn first hand about your potential fostering skills.
During these visits, the Social Worker will learn more about your own background and your experience of being parented. You will also talk about your education and past employment, as well as your views on parenting children.
If you have children of your own, the social worker will also seek their views on fostering. We will also establish if you wish to be a Full Time or a Respite Carer.
Once the Social Worker has got to know you and your family, they will complete an Assessment Report, which you will be able to read and correct any inaccuracies.
This report will then be submitted to a Fostering Panel consisting of a mix of Foster Carers, Supervising Social Workers and other relevant personnel. There will normally be about 6 people on this Panel and you will be invited to attend, along with your Social Worker, to answer any questions that they may wish to ask.
It is important to remember that you are not on trial! You will be treated with dignity and respect and your Social Worker will be present to support you.
You will be given the Panel’s recommendation after a few minutes’ wait and, as long as your application to become a foster carer is agreed by the Agency Decision Maker, you will be informed of what age group of child you’ll be able to foster – and whether you can foster girls, boys or both.
For full details of the guidance and regulations pertaining to the assessment and approval of Foster Parents, please search “DFE assessment of foster carers”.
Once you have become an approved foster parent, we will consider any referrals for children who may be suitable for you to look after. This could take a few weeks or even months, but we always try to match a child who is likely to thrive in your family environment. During this time it might be possible for you to provide respite for another foster parent.
As an approved foster parent, you will need to take part in core training, which takes place over a selection of dates throughout the year. This is to help you develop your skills in areas such as contact with families, education, health, behaviour and attachment theory.