Fostering process

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.

1. Express your interest in fostering

You can register your interest by:

We will talk about whether we're the right fostering agency for you. If we are, we'll arrange for one of our social workers to visit you at home.

2. Getting to know each other better

During the home visit, we will give you information about:

  • the types of children that need to be fostered
  • what happens at each stage of the process
  • the support you receive as a foster carer.

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:

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

3. Pre-approval

As part of the assessment, you will be assigned a Barnardo’s social worker who will:

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

We will also carry out the checks described above.

The information collected will become part of your assessment report, written by the social worker. This is a report given to the fostering panel, who will make a recommendation about your suitability to foster.

4. Pre-approval training

We run compulsory training for all potential foster carers. The course helps you to:

  • understand the commitment needed to foster
  • learn about the needs of looked-after children
  • 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.

5. Meeting the fostering panel and approval

The fostering panel is a group of professionals who have experience of working with children, or may have been fostered themselves.

We will invite you to meet the fostering panel, who will make a fostering recommendation based on:

  • the information in the assessment report
  • meeting you in person.

The final decision about your suitability to foster is made by a fostering decision maker at Barnardo’s.

6. Matching you with the right child

Once you are approved as a foster carer, your social worker will work with local authorities to find a child for you.

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 that the child will be with the right family.

7. Once you're a foster carer

You will receive on-going support and training after the child has been placed with you.

As an approved foster carer, you will also be reviewed on a yearly basis.

By choosing to become a foster carer you can make a huge difference in a child's life - and yours.