Answers to the most commonly asked questions about fostering.
How to become a Foster Parent
To become a Foster Parent, your ability to care for a foster child is what really matters. You can foster regardless of your marital status, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or whether you are a homeowner, renting, a parent or a non-parent.
When you do choose to foster, our friendly team will be there to support and guide you every step of the way to become a Foster Parent.
Many of our staff team have fostered, so we know exactly what it’s like. We make the process as open and transparent as possible so you can make a confident decision about fostering.
Stages to become a Foster Parent
You'll complete six stages in your journey to become a Foster Parent. On average it can take on average 4 months (16 weeks) from your application to being approved as a Foster Parent. The more time you are able to give during your assessment, the quicker the process will be.
Stage 1: Get in contact
Once contacted, we'll be in touch for an informal chat. So you can learn more about us and we can get to know you. We'll answer any questions you have and help you decide if fostering is really for you.
Stage 2: Attend an information evening
The next step to fostering is to come along to an information evening. All of our Foster Parents say that the information they received at their information evening was really valuable in helping them make a decision.
The teams that run the sessions are friendly, knowledgeable, and most have fostered themselves, so they really know what they are talking about.
We want you to know all about us, our unique therapeutic fostering approach and, most importantly, help you decide if you are ready to foster.
Stage 3: Apply to foster
As fostering is sensitive work, you won't be surprised to learn that the application form is thorough.
There is information that we need to gather from you by law, and some information we need to understand to allow us to decide if you are suited to working with us. All of your personal details will be respected and kept confidential.
Your completed application form will be reviewed by our knowledgeable recruitment team to see if you meet the relevant initial criteria, and are right for fostering with us.
Stage 4: Preparation training
We'll invite you to our initial two day training course to introduce you to fostering.
The training course is the beginning of your assessment process and where we start to get to really know you. We appreciate that some people may feel anxious attending a training course, but don’t worry, you won’t be expected to do anything that might make you feel uncomfortable.
Our trainers are friendly and thoughtful, they will make the course light-hearted and enjoyable. They will be keen to make you feel comfortable and will welcome you discussing with them any concerns you may have.
Foster parents tell us that they found their preparation training to be valuable and insightful.
Stage 5: Fostering assessment
The next step to fostering is we appoint an Independent Social Worker to carry out your fostering assessment, which usually involves around 6 visits to your home. The report they produce is what we use to help Local Authorities match a child they wish to refer.
Whilst your assessment is underway we will process statutory and optional checks, such as a DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service), personal and professional references. These checks are necessary to ensure that vulnerable children are entrusted to the care of people who are safe and secure.
Stage 6: Approval & First foster child
Your assessment report will be presented to our Fostering Panel meeting. This panel consists of various independent people with fostering, education and relevant backgrounds.
Applicants are expected to attend the panel meeting. The panel members will ask questions about the report and yourselves, and make a recommendation to us on your suitability as a Foster Parent.
Once the Panel has made its recommendation to us, our Decision Maker will make the final decision regarding your approval.
It is very rare indeed that once a family is presented to panel that they are not successful in being approved.
If approved, you will then be ready to foster! Your dedicated Link Worker and team will then be in contact to talk through how they will match a child with you.