become a foster parent

How to become a foster parent

Making the decision to become a foster parent doesn’t happen overnight, but when you do choose to foster with us, you can rely on our support throughout the process.


You’ll complete six stages in your journey to becoming a foster parent. Depending on your circumstances, the process can take between four and six months.

Although this may sound like a long time, it’s crucial that you’re given all the information you need, know exactly what to expect and understand what fostering means for your family.

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During this time, we’ll get to know you and your family and consider the types of fostering best for you and your family. This ensures that we can offer you the training and support you need to succeed in your role.

When it comes to fostering, it’s your personal qualities that count. So here at FCA, we proudly welcome people from all backgrounds and all walks of life, regardless of your marital status, gender or employment status. If you’re unsure if you can foster, we’ve outlined what you do and don’t need in order to become a foster parent.

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foster child with foster parents

Step 1: Enquire

You can register your interest in becoming a foster parent with our fostering service by calling us on 0800 023 4561 or completing our short enquiry form.

We will talk to you about fostering and answer any questions you may have. During this stage, our dedicated fostering advisor from the Start Team will get to know you and find out about your current situation and your plans for fostering. Our team are happy to answer any questions you may have about fostering and about becoming a foster parent with FCA.

Step 2: Home visit

A fostering advisor will visit your home or we can arrange a virtual home visit via video call if you’d prefer.  At the home visit we will give you more information, answer your questions, explain how we work, what we do to support our foster parents and have a look around your home. Hopefully, by the end of the home visit, you should have good idea if you think fostering is right for you. If you’re suitable to foster and are ready to progress, you’ll need to complete an application form.

Step 3: Fostering Assessment

Once you’ve formally applied and your application is been accepted, one of our social workers will be in touch to start your fostering assessment. They’ll visit your home between eight and ten times to collect information about you, your family, any skills and experience you have that will help you with fostering. This information will be put together in a report called a Form F.

Step 4: Preparation training

You’ll be invited to attend our fostering preparatory training course that will give you a full understanding of the fostering role and get you thinking about how you would react to some of the situations you may find yourself in when you become a foster parent and are caring for a child.

Step 5: Fostering Panel

After your assessment has been completed, we’ll present your information to a fostering panel. The panel will then make a recommendation to a Foster Care Associates manager, who will make the final decision about whether or not you can be approved as a foster parent for children and young people.

To help prepare you for your fostering panel day, we have written a blog to answer the most common questions asked by prospective foster parents.

Why foster?

Step 6: Fostering with us

Once you have been approved, your fostering journey with us will begin! We’ll actively promote your skills to the local authority and match a foster child to both your experience and any preferences you have. We aim to get you fostering a child or young person as soon as possible and we’ll be there to support you every step of the way.

Fostering Pay

Want to know how much fostering parents get paid? We offer generous and competitive fostering allowances and payments together with unrivalled levels of support and training.


Find out more about all the types of foster care placements we offer and how you can make a difference.

Types of fostering

Frequently asked questions

What is fostering?

Fostering is providing a safe and stable family home for a child or young person who can’t live with their birth family. There are many reasons why children need foster care.

Learn more about fostering

Who can apply to become a foster parent?

Anyone can apply to foster with us. We welcome foster carers from all walks of life; no matter what your gender, age, race or sexual orientation. We do have criteria though:

  • You need a spare room
  • You need to be over 21
  • You ideally need to commit to fostering full time
  • You need to have British Citizenship or indefinite leave to remain

Learn more about the fostering process

Do I need any special qualifications or experience to foster?

No not at all, PHD, GCSE, o-level or no level we will give you all the training you need together with ongoing development and support.

Learn more about the fostering process

How long does the fostering application take?

The length of the application process can vary, but it normally takes around four to six months. We’ll guide you through every step of your journey and keep in regular contact with you throughout the process.

What kind of support will I receive?

We wouldn’t expect anyone to foster without the right support, so when you foster with FCA you are not alone.

Become a foster parent with us and you have access to:

  • Social Work Support– you will have a dedicated supervising social worker who is your main point of contact and will organise monthly meetings and support for you whenever you need it
  • 24 / 7 support
  • Training and development - We will prepare you to foster and keep developing your skills with an ongoing training programme featuring both face to face and online courses thorough our Learnative portal.
  • Events and activities – we host a range of events and activities for all the family to enjoy.
  • Online portal – Join our online community with our portal The Exchange just for FCA foster parents. It gives you free and instant access to information and advice right when you need it – day or night, 365 days a year. Plus access to a range of discounts to some major retailers and online stores.
  • Fostering Network membership - useful and practical benefits, including insurance, legal protection, medical and stress advice helplines, as well as a foster care magazine.

What training will I receive as a foster parent?

We pride ourselves on being a learning organisation and are proactive in helping both our foster parents and employees to develop their skills, knowledge and experience.

We are committed to providing high quality training that is accessible and relevant to all of our foster parents.

Learn more about our training and development

Do I need to have a spare room to foster?

Yes, you’ll need to have a spare bedroom to foster a child in the UK.

There are a number of different reasons why you need a spare bedroom in your home.  Primarily it is part of the Fostering Services National Minimum Standards stating every child over the age of three should have their own bedroom.  But not only this, there are many other factors such as the child’s safety, security and privacy to also consider.

A child needs their own bedroom to provide a sense of security and dedicated space to play or be creative without distraction.

Learn more about fostering and a spare bedroom

Can a foster child share a bedroom?

No, every child and young person requires their own space, regardless of whether they’ve been raised in foster care.

A bedroom is a space in which children and young people can call theirs, giving them the much needed opportunity to play, discover, be imaginative and creative all without excessive disruptions.  Some children who fostered may be troubled from previous experiences so providing a bedroom for them will help them to process events from their life and give them a place for time to reflect and think.  Somewhere they can feel calm and relaxed.

Is there a maximum age to foster?

There really is no maximum age limit for fostering with us and many of our foster parents continue to foster well into their 70s.

All we ask is that you’re still able to fulfill the more active side of fostering – such as the school run and outdoor activities – and that you can do so with enthusiasm and energy.

Fostering with FCA has been everything I hoped it would be and more. I’d do it again without even a second thought.

Lorna - Foster parent

Benefits of working with FCA

24/7 local support, Excellent ongoing training and competitive allowances are just a few of the reasons why you should choose us for your fostering journey.

Why choose us

How can we help?

Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.

The company takes the requirements of GDPR seriously in ensuring the privacy and lawful processing of personal data provided to us by you. Please view our privacy notice which explains how the company will manage and use your personal data.

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

By Phone

Call a member of our friendly fostering team and they'll be able to answer all your questions

0800 023 4561

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