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 fostering process.


You’ll complete six stages in your journey to becoming a foster parent. Depending on your circumstances, the fostering 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.

Read our blog

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.

Discover how fostering will affect your finances

Don’t let finances be the barrier to starting your fostering journey, discover our essential guide to allowances, tax, National Insurance and claiming benefits whilst fostering.

Meet FCA Foster Parent Jackie

“It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. The positive of it is that many of the children I have looked after if I see them in the street will run to me and give me a hug. I think that’s the biggest compliment for me is that they remember me. I don’t think I could have asked for anything more.”

Why Choose Us?

We have been at the heart of fostering in the UK for over 25 years

With over 25 years of foster care experience, we continually strive to involve people and improve services. We’re one of the country’s largest and most experienced independent fostering agencies and committed to supporting every single foster child and foster parent, every single minute of the day.

Here at the FCA we understand that becoming a foster carer doesn’t happen overnight, but when you do choose to foster with us, you can rely on our support throughout the process.

What Are The Foster Care Requirements

There are a few foster care requirements in order to foster a child within the UK.

  • Be over 21 years old (there’s no upper age limit)
  • Have a spare bedroom but you don’t need to own your own house
  • Be a British Citizen or have indefinite leave to remain
  • Generally, you’ll need to be able to foster full time, but there are a few exceptions
  • Plenty of patience, energy, resilience and commitment

If you are not sure if you meet all the requirements, give us a call on 0800 023 4561 and we can answer any questions you have.

So, how much do foster parents get paid?

We understand that when considering if you can foster, finance is an important factor. We offer generous and competitive fostering allowances and payments together with unrivalled levels of support and training. Our finance calculator is designed to help you.


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 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

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.

I’m now retired, am I able to foster?

Yes absolutely. We look for potential foster parents who can dedicate their time and experience to supporting children and young people, and many people find that retirement gives them this opportunity.

Can I still work and be a foster parent?

In some cases it is still possible for you to continue working on a part-time or flexible basis depending on your individual circumstances.

Ideally we ask for at least one foster parent to be available for fostering on a full-time basis, so that we can ensure that the child or young person in your care is being looked after in the best way possible. As a foster parent, you have responsibility for day-to-day tasks; the school run, be available during school holidays, attend medical appointments on behalf or with your foster child, attend training, review meetings.  Should you have a problem on an odd occasion, your supervising social worker can help you make alternative arrangements.

To find out more and discuss your personal circumstances, call on 0800 023 4561.

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.

Beginner’s Guide to Fostering a Child

Download the FCA’s Complete Beginner’s Guide to Fostering a Child.


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

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

Types of fostering

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.

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