Social services Fostering

How to become a foster carer

It usually takes around four months from the start of your application to becoming a foster carer.

Stage 1: Have a friendly chat

Once you've checked if you can foster

book a call-back or an online chat, and we’ll get in touch with you.

Stage 2: learn more from us and real foster carers

Now's your chance to learn more about children who need foster care, meet experienced foster carers and other people like you who want to foster. We'll learn more about you and your skills including coming to visit you in your home.

Stage 3: a few checks

We make background checks with the police, your doctor and other local services. We ask for references from employers and people who know you well.

We'll visit you several times, to look at health and safety, and to get to know your household. The police will run a few checks on any lodgers, babysitters, children over 16, and other significant adults.

We'll write a report for you to read and sign.

Stage 4: getting approval

The report goes to our panel of experts to consider. You can be there when they do this. The panel makes a recommendation about your suitability as a foster carer.

Finally, a senior council officer looks at the report and the panel's recommendation, and decides whether you can be a foster carer.

Stage 5: your first foster child

If you're starting with short-term caring, you're likely to be placed with a child quite quickly. If you're going for long-term care, it could take a little longer.

Check if you can foster

If you want to become a foster carer or find out more:

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