Step by Step Guide to becoming a Foster Carer
  1. Initial enquiry


Making an initial enquiry is easy and this can be done by email, through this website or by phone.


You will be able to speak to a member of the team to answer any questions you have and to discuss whether fostering is right for you and your family.


We will complete an initial enquiry with you to find out more about your reasons for considering fostering, your previous experience of caring for children and your housing space and the time you have to care for children. The information will inform us whether you are a good candidate for fostering.


Following this call, you will be sent an information pack, which will contain information around the eligibility criteria, types of fostering, fees and allowances, and the fostering assessment process. If you wish to progress, an initial home visit will be arranged with you.

   2.  Initial Home Visit


Silver Lining staff member will visit you to discuss your interest in fostering further with you, to gather some background information about you and your family and to check that your home is suited to fostering. This will also be an opportunity for you to ask any further questions you may have regarding fostering and highlight any experiences you have had that may strengthen your application to foster. If the visit is positive application form can be completed following the home visit or alternatively this can be completed later and send to us by post. We will also be verifying your ID’s and other documents during the visit. At this point you will be asked to provide photocopies of ID and some other documents and to sign a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check consent form.


   3.  The Skills-to-Foster Preparation Training


You will be invited to attend a three-day training course for prospective foster carers. Attendance at the course forms part of the assessment process, and all applicants are required to attend. Depending on when the training course starts, you may be invited to attend the course before the assessment begins or after or during the assessment.


The training will cover a variety of topics in order to prepare you for the fostering role. Following the course, the trainers will discuss with you whether you have the skills to foster at this time.


   4.  The Assessment


You will be allocated an assessing social worker who would have a discussion with you about your:

  • life experiences

  • parenting skills and the qualities you would bring to fostering.


You will provide evidence of your ability to care for children or young people and the social worker would talk to your children, any adult children who have left home, and any former significant partners, where applicable.


A number of checks will be undertaken which will form a part of your assessment which includes:


  • your local authority

  • probation

  • finance

  • employment

  • education (If you have a school age child)

  • We will also complete personal references.

  • You will be expected to undertake a health assessment with your doctor.

  • We will need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, previously known as CRB) check on you, your partner and any members of your household who are over 18.


Your assessing social worker will put all the information gathered during the assessment in one report. You will have a chance to read, make comments and sign the finished report before it is presented to the independent fostering panel.


   5.  The Fostering Panel


Your assessment report would be presented to the fostering panel which you would be invited to attend. The fostering panel is a group of people independent of the agency who will make a recommendation to the agency decision-maker on your suitability to foster. The agency decision-maker considers the panel recommendations and makes the final decision.


   6.  Post Approval


Once you are approved as a foster carer, you will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker who will be your first point of contact. You will also be contacted by our placements team to discuss any potential placements.