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  6. Becoming a foster carer - how the application process works

Becoming a foster carer - how the application process works

1. Overview


We work with you through our assessment process which takes 4 to 6 months. We understand that during this process you may decide that it’s not for you.  Assessment is thorough because we must be sure that a child will be safe in your care and that you're confident in taking on a fostering role.

A fostering application is a 2-stage process.

Stage 1

  • Enquiry
  • Screening call
  • Initial Visit
  • Skills to Foster training and completion of checks, references and reference interviews.

Stage 2 – Your assessment

If your application is progressing, the assessment can start and Stages 1 and 2 can run at the same time.

Register your interest

The first step is to complete the enquiry form and register your interest, or attend one of our virtual information sessions online.

Read more about becoming a foster carer.


We will then contact you to answer any questions you have and take some initial details from you, completing an expression of interest.

Q&A call

During the call, we will give you more information about fostering. We can answer any questions you have and talk to you about:

  • Your factual information. For example, name, address, date of birth, ethnicity, religion and current relationship status
  • Your household members and their basic information
  • Your children, their basic information and details of contact and relationships
  • Any previous partners: names and details of previous relationships
  • Your accommodation and suitability for fostering
  • Your current employment and availability to foster
  • The information that we will need to complete our checks and references
  • Any previous involvement you or wider family members have had with the police, children's or adults' services
  • Your health
  • Your lifestyle: beliefs, day to day lifestyle, impact of fostering and changes you may need to make
  • Your experience of parenting or caring for children
  • Types of fostering and what you're interested in

Initial visit

A member of the team will come and visit you at home to discuss your fostering application in more depth:

  • skills and experience
  • finances
  • knowledge and understanding of fostering
  • your reasons for wanting to become a foster carer.

We will look around your home and discuss with you any issues around your to suitability to foster. After this visit, we will send you documents to complete. This is to enable us to complete your Stage 1 checks and references. We will send you the report template used for assessments. This is so you can review and consider the information which we will discuss further.

Skills to Foster training

The next stage is to come on our ‘Skills to Foster’ preparation course. This looks at the emotional, legal and practical aspects of fostering for you and your family.

Skills to Foster training is currently a one-day course delivered by video call.  For joint applications, both of you must attend the whole session.

After the course, there will be a meeting to discuss your application.

You also have the chance to discuss what fostering might be like, for you and your family. You’ll talk with experienced foster carers and their children, other applicants, young people who have been fostered and workers from the fostering team.

Your assessment and Fostering Panel

During the assessment, the social worker will visit you at home. They will meet with you and any other household members, both individually and as a group.

Your social worker will also visit some of your referees. They are trying to build a picture of you to report to the Fostering Panel.

The assessment process requires your full participation. We ask all applicants to be honest and open throughout.