Becoming a foster carer
Fostering a child is one of the most rewarding things you could do and we will support you all the way. If you are thinking about becoming a foster carer, here’s some information about the process and next steps.
How long does the process take?
Depending on your circumstances, the process to becoming a foster carer can take up to 6 months. You may feel this is a long time, but the process, as you will appreciate, has to be carried out thoroughly. We also want to ensure that anyone thinking about becoming a foster carer is supported and knows exactly what to expect.
Step One - make an enquiry
Telephone – 0800 160 1900 (Office hours: Monday – Thursday 9am – 5.30pm and Friday 9am – 5pm)
On receiving your details we will contact you to discuss whether fostering is right for you and your family. We will take some initial details on you and your family, as well as answer any questions you may have.
Following your call, we will send you an Information pack. We will then follow this up by calling you to arrange a visit to your home to meet you and any other adults living at home.
Step Two - Visit to your home
We will visit you at home within 7 working days from your initial enquiry, (unless you request otherwise) to discuss fostering in more detail and again answer any questions you might have. We will complete a brief report regarding your request to foster.
Step Three - Skills to Foster training course
(This takes approximately 2 months)
The next step would be to attend our excellent ‘Skills to Foster’ course, designed by the Fostering Network. The course is part of the assessment process and will help you with everything you need to become a foster carer. It will give you the opportunity to speak to our experienced foster carers and social workers in an informal and relaxed environment.
We’ll help you understand why children and young people come into foster care, explain the role of a foster carer and discuss how fostering may affect your family.
At this stage we also need to carry out various checks including police checks and obtain personal referees. You will also need to attend a health assessment undertaken by your own doctor/GP.
Step Four - Assessment
(This takes approximately 4 months)
The assessment process is all about us getting to know you and your family. To do this we will allocate you a social worker who will visit you and your family to find out about your life, childhood, your family and anything else they feel will affect you becoming a foster carer.
At the end of the assessment process your social worker will write a report with a recommendation to the Fostering Panel.
Step Five - Fostering Panel
This is the final stage. You will be invited to attend the Fostering Panel, where your social worker will present your report. The fostering panel is made up of a range of professionals and chaired by an independent person. They will come together to make a recommendation regarding your approval to be a foster carer.
What happens if I get approved?
Congratulations! Once you have been approved, you are able to foster a child. We will allocate you a fostering social worker who will have regular contact with you and find you a placement that’s right for you and the child or young person. They will also talk to you about our excellent training package and support you all the way.