The fostering process

Let us walk you through the steps to becoming a foster carer with The Fostering Company

Becoming a foster carer

Becoming a foster carer is big commitment for both you and those in your household. We will work with you every step of the way to make sure the relationships you build with the children and young people that come into your care will be positive and long-lasting ones.

This process normally takes between 4 – 6 months from start to finish, but most of our approvals are completed within 5 months.

Talk to us

You contact our carer enquiries team either by phone or online and they gather some key information about you and your circumstances.

Meet with us

A social worker from The Fostering Company will visit you in your home to discuss fostering further and answer any questions you may have.


Once an application form has been received the following checks will take place::

  • Enhanced DBS checks for all adults in the household (over 18) – completed by the social worker from the fostering team
  • Full medical – completed by your own GP

The purpose of the medical is to ensure that you are healthy and fit to look after a child / young person and also to ensure that you would not be putting your own health at risk. If you have a medical condition that is reviewed by a consultant we will ask for a report. The cost of the medical is covered by The Fostering Company.


A social worker from the fostering team will complete a detailed assessment on you and your family. It is important that you talk openly and honestly about your life and family during this assessment process.

The assessment usually takes up to six months from when it begins to presentation at the Fostering Panel. You will have the opportunity to read the assessment to check for factual accuracy. There is a section in the report for you to make comments about how you found the assessment and whether or not you agree with the social worker’s assessment of you and your family.


If you and the social worker both agree to continue with your application, you will be invited to complete the pre-approval training course.


You will be asked to nominate three referees who are not related to you and who have agreed to give you a reference. Your referees will be asked to complete a written reference and will also be interviewed face to face by the social worker completing your assessment. It is important that you speak to your referees to make sure they are willing to do this and that they will speak honestly about you.

Health and safety checklist

Completed at this early stage to ensure there are no obvious risks within your home, e.g. a child in foster care cannot sleep in a bedroom that is an attic conversion for which you did not obtain proper planning permission. Obvious hazards will be highlighted to ensure the safety of the child or young person in your care.

If you are a parent and have pre-school age children we will ask your health visitor for a report.

If you have had involvement with social services the social worker will explore the circumstances surrounding this and the implications for you in your role as a foster carer will be explored.

Fostering Panel

The completed assessment is brought to The Fostering Company’s Fostering Panel for approval. You will have an opportunity to attend the Panel. The Panel is made up of independent professionals and an experienced foster carer. The Panel considers your assessment and makes the decision whether to recommend approval of you as a Fostering Company foster carer. Your approval as a foster carer is reviewed every year.

Approval - you are a Fostering Company foster carer!

Once the recommendation has been made we will inform you verbally and in writing to let you know if you have been approved as a foster carer. Once a suitable match has been identified, you will be provided with information about the child or young person. If you decide to go ahead then the placement is made.

Ongoing training & support

You will receive comprehensive training and will be fully supported by your own supervising social worker and your local fostering team.

Are you ready to start your fostering journey?

Get in touch to arrange an informal chat with our carer enquiry team.