Becoming a foster carer

Do you have space in your life for a child or teenager? We’re looking for foster carers for children of all ages, but in particular for young people over 12.

We are here to offer you support through every stage of the fostering process.

What is fostering?

Fostering means to give a child a stable and caring home, when their parents are unable to look after them for some reason.

We have created this video to help you get a better understanding of what is involved.

Who can apply

As a foster carer you would be providing a much needed and valued service. Almost anyone can apply to foster, but you should check our criteria before you continue with the process.

Initial contact

If you decide to proceed you may have some questions about the process.

You can contact us at any time to speak to someone about fostering and how it works. You can request an information pack or ask us to give you a call back.

We will ask you for some details to help us get to know you better. For example, information about your background, home and general health.

You can also attend one of our drop in sessions, where you can speak to a foster carer, or someone from our Fostering Team, who will answer any questions you may have.

Home visit

If you are still interested in fostering, the next stage is to arrange a home visit. During the visit we would like to meet anyone else who lives in your home and find out more about your support network.

Make your application

After your home visit, we will make a decision about your suitability to become a foster carer. If we agree that you meet our basic criteria, you will be able to make an application.

Assessment process

Once we receive your application we will begin a full assessment process, which looks at all aspects of your life in detail. This process can take up to eight months to complete but is often quicker depending on your availability.

We offer lots of support during the assessment process to help you along the way.

Checks and training

We will run checks including DBS, medical, and references.

You will be invited to the Skills to Foster two day training sessions which will help prepare you to foster.

Assessment and Panel

If after Stage 1 you wish to proceed and we are in agreement, a social worker will be assigned to you to complete the main assessment.

You will contribute to this final report and will help agree your fostering approval terms and identify support and training you might need. You will also decide which type of fostering would best suit you.

The full assessment is then taken to the Fostering Panel which yourself and your assessing worker attend.

The Fostering Panel is a group of experienced professionals with an in depth knowledge of foster care. They meet to discuss:

  • Your application
  • The report created by your social worker
  • What types of fostering would best suit your situation

They make a decision on whether to approve a carer or suggest further areas for development. Throughout this stage the social worker will be giving support and guidance.

All recommendations from Panel are then scrutinised by the Agency Decision Maker who makes the final decision. If you do not agree with the recommendation and subsequent decision you can appeal internally or to the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM).

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Updated: 13 September 2017