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What happens next?

Our fostering application and assessment helps you to decide if foster care is right for you, as well as making sure our children and young people are in the best possible hands.  
It usually takes around four to six months for our successful applicants to be approved as a foster carer.


Step 1: If you would like to know more

Continue to Step 2

Step 2: Home visit by fostering social worker

  • If you have decided to go ahead, a social worker will arrange to visit you at home to discuss the next stage
  • They will give you more information and answer any questions you have
  • They will complete an initial assessment with you
  • You will then be informed if you are suitable to proceed to the next stage
Continue to Step 3

Step 3: Complete an application form

Stage 1:
  • At this stage routine checks will be done, including a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) for those over 18 years and at least two personal referees will be interviewed
  • You will also be asked to have a full (free) medical examination from your GP, to make sure there are no health reasons why you should not foster
  • We will also invite you to attend a preparation course ‘Skills to Foster’. This is run by members of the fostering team and experienced carers. It is a chance for you to meet other people who are interested in fostering and to learn much more about fostering
Stage 2:
  • A social worker will undertake a fostering assessment. This will provide information about you and your family, your support network and your skills and abilities in looking after children. It will also include the type of placements you and the assessor think will be best. You will be very much involved in providing information and evidence for this
  • The social worker will then write an assessment report which will make a recommendation about your suitability to foster. You will be asked to read and comment on this document
  • If you have already been a foster carer or have skills and experience in child care we may ‘fast-track’ you by completing the two stages of assessment concurrently
Continue to Step 4

Step 4: Fostering Panel

  • The completed assessment is taken to a fostering panel for consideration
  • The panel consists of a cross section of people including professionals and lay persons interested in fostering
  • The panel will read through your report and ask you and your fostering social worker some questions
  • The panel will then make a recommendation to our Agency decision maker as to your suitability to foster who will make the final decision about your approval
  • You will be informed of that decision
  • At a later stage, if you wish to change the type of fostering you want to do or the age group you wish to foster, the Panel will consider these changes
Continue to Step 5

Step 5: Congratulations – you are a foster carer

  • Once you are approved, we will send you a welcome pack and introduce you to your support social worker
  • Together we will start matching you to children needing a foster family
  • This is often an exciting time for new carers, but don’t worry, you’ll receive plenty of help and support
  • If at any stage you and your family decide fostering isn’t for you, you can withdraw your application

Download a recruitment pack

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Recruitment Pack

Foster Care Recruitment pack

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Last updated: 5 July 2016 | Last reviewed: 5 July 2016