The fostering process

Becoming a foster carer

Becoming a foster carer normally takes between 4 – 6 months from start to finish. Our team will guide and support you through the following steps…

Talk to us

You contact our carer enquires team either by phone or online and they gather some key information about you and your circumstances.

Meet with us

Once you have completed your initial enquiry, a social worker will discuss fostering with you and answer any questions you may have. If appropriate, they will arrange an initial home visit to discuss your interest further.

Preparation training

If your application progresses beyond the initial visit, you will be invited to attend one of our training groups. This consists of six three-hour sessions. After training, if both parties agree, you will be given an official application form.


Once your application is screened and accepted you are assigned an assessing social worker who will begin your assessment to become a foster carer.

Assessment - Stage One

Assessment begins and checks are carried out, including:

  • Enhanced criminal records (DBS) checks for the applicant(s) and people over 18 living in the family home
  • A medical with your own GP
  • Four references: two personal references plus one family member and a current or last employer for each applicant. Where there is no employer, an alternative professional reference will be sought

Assessment - Stage Two

Begins when the checks are completed which usually takes about four weeks from when requested.

This consists of several visits (at least six) from your assessing social worker. Together you will prepare a report about you and your family and what you can offer to fostering. You will then be given the opportunity to read the completed assessment form and discuss any amendments if necessary.

Panel interview

Your completed assessment is presented to the Fostering Panel (made up of various professionals and independent people, including foster carers) for approval. Applicants will attend the panel with their Assessing Social Worker.

Approval. You are a Foster Careline foster carer!

The Fostering Panel discuss and then make a recommendation to the agency decision maker, who will make a decision based on the Fostering Panel’s recommendation. You will be informed verbally and in writing of the decision, and the local authorities will then be informed of the availability of the foster carer.


Once approved, our placements officers start working to carefully match you with a child or young person.


Once a suitable match has been identified, you will be provided with information about the child or young person. If you decide to go ahead then the placement is made.

Ongoing training & support

You will receive comprehensive training and will be fully supported by your own supervising social worker and your local fostering team.

Temporarily withdrawing your application

At any time throughout this whole process, you may decide to withdraw your application. It may be that you want to delay your application for a while. This will not affect any future application you would wish to make to the service. During the whole approval process we are here to support and guide you.

Could you improve a child’s experience of life?

If you would like to find out more about the skills and qualities we’re looking for in a foster carer, we would love to hear from you.