It usually takes between 4 to 6 months to become a foster carer. The length of time depends on how quickly you progress through the different stages and the time it takes to complete relevant paperwork and checks.
At Family Care, we guide and support you throughout all stages, from your initial enquiry right through to your approval.
The following 5 steps detail the main stages of the fostering process:
Step 1 - Initial Enquiry
You can express your interest in fostering by calling 0800 5 677 677 or by completing our enquiry form. We have a chat about fostering and ask a few questions. This stage of the process is quite informal. There is no commitment, you can simply use the chat as an opportunity to ask us any questions you may have.
Step 2 - Home Visit
If you're happy to progress, one of our supervising social workers will arrange a home visit to get a better understanding of how fostering can work for you. We'll also have a look around the home and the bedroom(s) for fostering. This is still quite an informal stage of the process.
Step 3 - Application and Assessment
Once you have completed and returned the application form, we will contact you to start your fostering assessment. You will be allocated with an assessor who will visit you frequently whilst compiling their assessment report and arranging for checks and references to be undertaken.
Step 4 - Training
You will attend ‘Skills to Foster’ training to develop skills and understanding needed in your role as a foster carer. The training is also a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow applicants, experienced foster carers and the Family Care team you will work with.
Step 5 - Panel
Once your assessment report is complete it is presented to our fostering Panel. Panel is a small group of people most of whom are independent of Family Care and have relevant experience of fostering. The Panel considers all the information presented and makes a recommendation regarding your suitability to foster. Finally, the ‘agency decision maker’(ADM) for Family Care will make a decision based on the Panel’s recommendation.
Once you are approved we begin the process of matching children and young people to you. We make Local Authorities aware of your skills, your location and the types of fostering you can offer.