Achieving for Children

Stages to becoming a foster carer

Home visit

If you meet the practical requirements for becoming a foster carer, a home visit will be arranged to talk to you further.

Fostering assessment stage one

After the visit if both you and our member of staff feel fostering could be right for you, you can begin stage one of the fostering assessment.

During this stage, we will carry out an enhanced criminal record check (DBS), local authority and employer checks, write to friends and family for references, and ask you to undertake a full medical check-up.

Skills to Foster course

During stage one of the fostering assessment, applicants are required to attend a fostering preparation group. This is usually a three-day course which takes place over two consecutive weeks and may include a Saturday or evenings.

You will find out about the needs of the children, the legal aspects of being a foster carer and how fostering might affect your life. It will also give you a chance to meet other prospective carers.

Fostering assessment stage two

You will be allocated a social worker from the team, and they will visit you at home to complete the assessment. The process lasts typically between three and five months.

The assessment will look at your background and your understanding of children. It will also allow you to decide with your social worker what you want to offer, such as your preferred age range, and if you wish to provide short term or long term foster placements for children.

Assessment report

The social worker will produce a report of the assessment. You will be able to contribute to this and see the final report.

Fostering Panel

The report is submitted to the Fostering Panel who will make a recommendation about your approval as a foster carer. The panel is made up of professionals from social work, health and education, as well as independent members with a range of experience from different backgrounds.

You will be invited to attend the panel meeting with your assessing social worker, and the panel will let you know its recommendation at the end of the session.


The panel’s recommendation will be passed to the Agency Decision Maker, to make the final decision about your approval as a foster carer, and you will receive a letter confirming the decision.

We’ll support you every step of the way!


Find out more

AfC Fostering