COVID - 19 statement

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak we are not holding events or undertaking visits we are however still very keen to speak with you and are able to answer questions by phone or email. Please do therefore complete the online enquiry form  and we will get back to you. We can also offer lots of information that we normally give at our fostering information events.

The first step – get in touch

We understand that the decision to foster is a huge step and so we'll provide you with support every step of the way. On average it takes six months to become an approved foster carer - but we believe you can do it, and so should you.

Getting in touch to say you are considering fostering can be a big step to take, but there’s nothing to worry about.

Making an enquiry is an opportunity for you to find out more about fostering and the application process, to help you decide if fostering is something that you want to pursue.

If you’re interested in fostering with us, the first thing to do is fill in our online enquiry form

You can also find your nearest fostering service on our ‘Fostering Services near me’ page. 

Alternatively, you can call us on 0800 0277 280 or 0771 2402 312 - our phone lines are open from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

At this stage you are not making any commitments. A member of our team will call you back to talk you through the fostering process, answer any questions you may have and ask you a few questions about yourself and your motivation to foster. 

What happens next

Initial visit

Once you have spoken to a member of our team and decided you want to continue with your enquiry, we will set up a meeting with you where one of our supervising social workers  will visit you at your home. 

The initial visits usually involve a more detailed discussion about your circumstances, your motivations to foster and your understanding of fostering and the needs of looked after children. we will give you information about:

The meeting is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about the process of becoming an approved foster carer and what impact fostering could have on you and your family 

If we both decide to continue with the process, you will need to complete a fostering registration form and a consent form that allows us to arrange a number of checks throughout the next stage of your assessment. 

If you are married or live with a partner, you will both need to be present at the home visit and continue to be involved throughout the assessment process together. 


Our assessment process is thorough because we want you to be fully prepared for the challenges and rewards that fostering brings. 

You will be assigned an experienced Barnardo’s social worker who will visit you regularly over several months throughout your assessment. They will:

  • visit your home
  • discuss the reasons why you would like to foster
  • find out more about your family background
  • spend time with you and your family
  • discuss the type of child you could foster.

During the assessment period, we will also carry a number of checks including: 

  • police checks /enhanced DBS
  • medical checks
  • financial checks
  • professional and personal references

The information collected will become part of your assessment report, written by your social worker. This is a comprehensive report which will be given to the fostering panel at towards the end of your assessment process for them to make a recommendation about your suitability to foster.

Fostering training

During the assessment process, we run compulsory training for all our foster carers which you will need to attend. The training is designed to help you:

  • understand the commitment needed to foster
  • learn about the needs of looked after children
  • further develop the skills you'll need to foster.

You will get the chance to meet like-minded people who are preparing to foster or are currently fostering children.


The final stage of the assessment process is the panel review. The information gathered by your social worker will be presented in an assessment report to the fostering panel.

The fostering panel is a group of skilled and experienced professionals chosen because of their wealth of knowledge about fostering - they may have experience of working with children, or may have been fostered themselves.

You will be invited to meet the panel and clarify any last questions you or they may have. The panel will make a recommendation about your suitability to foster, and submit it to the fostering decision maker who will consider it and ultimately decide whether or not to accept its recommendation.

Matching you with the right child/ren

As soon as you are approved, your social worker will begin the process of matching you with the right child/ren. Your social worker will continue to support you through every step of your fostering journey. 

If a child may be placed with you on a long term basis, the child’s social worker and the local authority fostering panel must also agree the placement to ensure the child will be with the right family.

  • A young man smiling

    Fostering a child

    All kinds of children need loving foster carers, and we have a focus on matching children who may need extra care and support from a foster family.

  • A foster carer sitting in her garden smiling

    Fostering near me

    Our team of dedicated social workers will support you throughout the whole of your fostering journey. Our fostering services are placed right around the UK.

  • Girl with blonde hair standing in front of trees

    Become a foster carer

    The first step towards joining the Barnardo's family is getting in touch. Complete our online form or find details about alternative contact methods here.