Step 1 – Register your interest
Step 2 – Initial visit and application
We’ll arrange for one of our social workers to visit you at home to discuss things in more detail and answer any questions you might have. We’ll ask you to complete our application form. Find out more about our application process.
Step 3 – Assessment
We will undertake an assessment and relevant checks. Find out more about our assessment process.
Step 4 – Approval
Your assessment report will be presented to a fostering panel who make a recommendation as to whether to approve you as a foster carer or not. An Assistant Director will review the papers and panel recommendation before making a decision. Find out more about our approval process.
What happens once I’m approved?
You’re ready to begin fostering! You’ll be given further information about training opportunities by a social worker who will support you as a foster carer. We will expect you to undertake the Induction to Foster Care, which is a national programme for foster carers. After discussions on matching a child’s needs to your skills, a child or children is placed with you. Their age and the length of their stay will depend on the type of fostering you’re approved for.
Our application process
• You will be asked to fill in an application form about yourself and other members of your household. This form gives the council permission to carry out criminal records bureau and other checks. We need to make sure that you’ve not committed any offences or actions that would disqualify you from fostering.
• You’ll be asked for proof of your identity (like a passport, birth or marriage certificate) and we will ask you to have a health check to show you don’t have any major health problems.
Our assessment process
• We’ll invite you will take part in our ‘Skills to Foster’ event to learn more about fostering, talk to experienced foster carers and meet others going through the process. If you are successful on Skills to Foster course, a social worker who will carry out your personal assessment looking at your life, family, values, skills and childhood experiences as well as the other members of your household. This assessment will cover a range of subjects relating to the needs of children who require fostering. The social worker will explain the skills and qualities that foster carers need. They will also discuss how you can demonstrate your skills through practical examples of activities you’re already involved in.
• Everyone who applies to foster has to undertake a medical as part of the assessment process to make sure that they have the ability to care for a child. If a person is disabled or has a medical condition, our Medical Adviser will take these factors into consideration and make recommendations with regards to the applicant’s suitability.
• We will take up your personal and employer references. We will ask your permission to contact ex partners and adult children. The reasons for this will be explained at the initial visit.
• All the information gathered by the social worker is put into a report outlining your skills, your future training needs and areas where perhaps you need more help. You’ll see the social worker’s report and you can make your own comments in writing.
Our approval process
• The report is presented to a fostering panel (you will be invited to the panel).
• The panel will make a recommendation to the assistant director as to whether or not to approve you as a foster carer and the number, age and gender of children you can foster. The assistant director will then review the papers and the recommendations, advised by the panel, and give their final decision regarding approval within weeks of the panel date. If you are not approved, your social worker will discuss the reasons with you and we will write to you. You will be able to put forward your own views and appeal the decision.