How to be a foster carer

CRITERIA FOR FOSTERING

Foster Carers come from all walks of life. They have different life experiences, abilities, skills and knowledge.

There are minimum Fostering Requirements you need to become a foster carer which include;

  • You must be aged 21 years or older
  • You must have a spare bedroom that has enough space to fit a single bed, wardrobe or chest of drawers and a desk
  • You must have a legal right to work in the UK

It’s also important that you’re able to work as part of a team, be resilient and above all, have a strong commitment to changing the life of a child in care.

Take our Eligibility Quiz.

Becoming A Foster Carer.

What do you need?

  • You need to be flexible, non judgmental and child centred
  • To have the ability to work with your fostering agency
    • You need to be able to take on board other people’s opinions and formal supervision
  • To show you have some experience of caring for children as a carer, parent, or professionally
  • You need to be able to provide a bedroom in a safe, loving home environment.

Can you afford to foster? Find out about the pay.

Fostering Application Service.

Only 4 Months To Approval.

After you contact us, the agency(s) on our national database you choose will be in touch to arrange a home visit to talk about you and your family and to answer any questions.

If all’s well, the process is started by requesting police checks, employment (if necessary) and personal references.

You will be asked to attend a preparation course to learn more about fostering.

The home visits start to complete the assessment report, so that the panel can decide which type of placements you can be approved for.

Simply Fostering Video.

Application Process.

Step one – Complete our enquiry form
If you decide to complete our enquiry form, you will receive information packs from the most suitable fostering agencies on our Database in your area. This will give you the opportunity to read about what they have to offer, and which agency or agencies you decide will visit you.

You will also receive the free national Simply Foster Care Handbook.

Step two – Home visit by the agency
Following the initial visit and the decision to proceed, the agency social worker will arrange to start your assessment. For couples, both applicants will have to undergo the assessment, checks and training, as both applicants will need to be approved as before they can foster children.

Step three – The assessment process
The assessment will involve about ten home visits from the assessing social worker who will also visit your referees and any other relevant people.

The process is an enjoyable experience however it can be demanding and feel intrusive at times.

The assessment will cover all aspects of your life. Legal requirements have to be met, and they need to ensure that they ‘get it right’ for the foster children you look after. Just as importantly, the agency you work with needs to get it right for you and your family.

Assessment training.
As your application proceeds you will be invited to attend a training course. Most agencies use the Fostering Network course called “Skills to Foster”.

The three or sometimes four day training course is arranged to be as convenient as possible for you and might be staged over weekdays, evenings or weekends.

The course gives you the opportunity to learn more about national fostering, and is usually compulsory before approval. This is also a chance to meet other people going through the process of applying and to hear what approved foster carers have to say about their day to day experiences.

Skills to foster.
By the end of the assessment you will be expected to show you can develop the following skills;

  • The ability to communicate with children, their families and professionals;
  • An awareness of child development and the particular needs of foster children;
  • A willingness to work with the care plan for the child including working with their families;
  • Flexibility;
  • The ability to keep accurate records;
  • A willingness to attend meetings, support groups and training courses.

Step four – Fostering Panel.

At the end of the assessment, you will be invited to attend the Agency’s Fostering Panel when your approval will be discussed and a decision made. Read more about the Panel.

About Foster Caring.

If you have children, it is important that you talk with them at an early stage about being part of a fostering family.

Becoming a foster carer and fostering children holds many challenges for fostering families. It is a big step that everyone in the household should approve of and be fully involved in, the decision to foster.

Foster caring
Foster carers have to set clear boundaries, they have to be consistent, aware of children’s feelings and be seen to be fair by fostered children. Carers need to build trust and mutual respect whilst expecting that family rules will be tested.

The placements
Most often, children and teens are placed on a short term basis so foster carers need to be able to let go and to support children they have fostered to move on. Fostering is ‘Parenting Plus’, and love is not enough.

The rewards
Fostering can be hard work at times, but the rewards far outweigh the difficulties. Carers can work from home, develop a professional career, and use their skills to keep children safe in a loving home environment. Birth children have their patience tested and their belongings ‘ borrowed’ sometimes, but they benefit as they grow from experiencing the things foster children don’t have, and how much they do.

How to choose the right agency
There are both Local Authority and Independent Fostering Agencies and every Agency has vacancies for new carers.  Before enquiring or applying to become a foster carer, make sure that you choose the right agency for you and your family by using our free Fostering Agency Finding – Matching service.

We are here to help!

Successful Fostering

Being a Foster Carer is one of the most rewarding careers out there, but being with the wrong Agency can mean not having the support and allowances you expected to be a successful carer.

Contact us and we will find you suitable Agencies in your area with vacancies.

Foster Carer Vacancies

You can apply to be a Foster Carer in England, Scotland, Wales and NI. There are over 8,000 vacancies every year because of the growing need for foster placements and the loss of carers who retire or move on. If you are thinking of starting a new career working from home and have a passion for children’s safety and well being, Fostering could be for you

Eligibility Quiz

If you are unsure if you are eligible to Foster and you'd like to find out if you can apply, then please use our free Eligibility Quiz.

Contact Form

To find the Fostering Agencies with vacancies in your area, please use our Easy Contact Form, it just takes a couple of minutes, and you could be on the way to becoming a Foster Carer.

Informal Chat

For an informal chat please call us on:
07535 050631

About Foster Carers.

A video about a carers experience

An experienced carer of 20 years talks about how to foster, provides tips on fostering, and chats about her experiences.

woman on laptop

fostering Training

As part of the application process, your Fostering Agency will invite you to attend a training course, most  Agencies use the Fostering Network course called “Skills to Foster”.

what Could You Earn?

Being a foster carer is not only an ethical career, it's also financially rewarding. Our calculators estimate what you could be earning.

Free Matching Service?

If you meet the UK criteria to foster. we will match you with a local Fostering Agency and ask them to call you.
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UK Wide Fostering Network

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If you live in the UK… We’ve got you covered.
We cover the length and breadth of the UK with our unique Agency Network. Finding an Agency near you and supporting your move into foster caring.

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