Step 1

Initial enquiry: 5 to 10 days

To move forward, you'll need to complete an initial enquiry form.

We'll then phone you and may then make an appointment for a social worker to visit you at home.

If you're applying to foster a child as a couple, you'll both need to be at the visit.

After your home visit

After you've had a home visit and sent your application form to us, we will notify you in writing within 5 working days of either:

  • being accepted onto Stage 1 of the assessment process
  • being told why your application could not be accepted at this time.

Initial enquiry: 5 to 10 days

"We'll contact you at a time that best suits you and your family."

Stage 1

Pre-assessment process: 2 months

During the pre-assessment process you'll be asked to complete checks, references and training.

Checks and references

You'll complete all statutory checks including:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service
  • a full medical
  • three personal references each
  • school and health references for your own children
  • employer references
  • bank and mortgage / landlord references.


You'll be invited to a 3 day ‘Skills to Foster’ training course. In this, you'll learn more about children in care and their individual needs. Carers are expected to use this time to explore, research and develop their knowledge of issues affecting looked after children.

"We'll offer you a wealth of training that can even lead to qualifications!"

Stage 2

Form F Assessment: 3 to 4 months

You'll be given an Assessing Social Worker who you'll plan your sessions and discuss all paperwork needed with to complete your assessment (also called a Form F).

You will have 6 to 8 sessions, lasting about 2 to 3 hours each. If you’re a couple, you'll both need to be active participants in all sessions.

Midway meeting

Completing Stage 2 and the Form F assessment should take about 3 to 4 months.

After this, you'll attend a midway meeting with the assessing social worker and the senior social worker of the recruitment team. This is to ensure that the assessment is progressing according to plan.

You'll then attend the fostering panel.

Form F Assessment: 3 to 4 months

"We'll support you throughout the process to help you make the right decision for you and your family."

Step 4

Fostering panel: 7 days

Your Form F is given to the panel by your assessing social worker.

Together, you and your social worker will share information and answer any questions the panel members have.

We aim to introduce you to your Supervising Social Worker before the panel and they may be at the panel to support you.

Panel members will make a recommendation about your approval and will tell you in person at the end of the panel.

The recommendation will be passed to the Agency Decision Maker who has to approve the recommendation.

You'll be sent formal notification in writing within 7 working days of attending the panel.

Once you are an approved foster carer, your supervising social worker will be there to help you prepare for your first placement.

Fostering panel: 7 days

"Our teams will make sure that fostering is right for you."

What you'll need in the process

For the Stage 1 Assessment you will need to complete checks including:

  • local council
  • probation
  • finance
  • employment
  • education
  • health checks with your GP
  • Disclosure and Barring Service checks on anyone 16+ in the house, to check any criminal records
  • personal references.