The fostering process

Step 1 – Making an enquiry 

After completing our enquiry form or speaking to us directly, we’ll have an initial chat with you about what fostering is like, the types of fostering that might suit you right now and we’ll find out a little about you too. 

Step 2 – Home visit 

If we’re all happy to move to the next stage, we’ll arrange a social worker to come and visit you in your home. 

This is a more in-depth discussion about the realities of fostering, the difference you can make, the expectations of foster carers and the commitments required to foster. We’ll ask some more question to find out a little more about you and we’re there to answer any questions you might have too. 

Step 3 – Invitation to apply 

At the end of our visit, if you’re happy to continue your fostering journey with us, and we’re happy to assess you, you’ll be formally invited to apply. 

Step 4 – Assessment 

After we receive your completed application, we’ll allocate you an assessing social worker. This is the person who will get to know you and your family and gather the evidence needed to prove your suitability to foster.  

The assessment takes between 4 and 6 months and it is the most intensive part of the process. As well as speaking with you regularly, we’ll also carry out some checks and references, like a medical and DBS, and we’ll speak to your referees. 

During this time, you’ll also take our Skills to Foster course which gives you the training you need at this stage to understand why children come into our care, how to safeguard them and yourself and the expectation placed on foster carers. 

Step 5 – Panel 

Once your assessment is complete, you’ll be invited to a panel meeting. This is where your assessment is read and then discussed by a group of independent people. 

They may ask you some questions, but you’ll be accompanied by your assessing social worker the whole time.  

Remember, these questions will only be about you, so you’ll know the answers. 

Step 6 – Approval 

After the panel meeting, your assessment and the panel’s recommendations are read by our Agency Decision Maker. They make the final decision about your application.  

This is the end of the application process. After approval, you’ll be able to foster children and we’ll begin your programme of induction. 

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