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.
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.
The fostering journey
Step 1 - Enquire:
Enquire online and speak to our friendly team
Step 2 - Home Visit:
We'll visit you either virtually or in-person to get to know you a bit more.
Step 3 - Fostering Assessment
When you're ready to take the next step, you'll complete an application form and if accepted, we'll start your fostering assessment.
Step 4 - Preparation training
You'll be invited to our preparatory course which gives you a full understanding of the role of a foster parent
Step 5 - Fostering panel
The last step is where an independent fostering panel with review your assessment. Finally an FCA decision-maker will confirm your approval
Step 6 - Fostering with us
Our referrals team expertly match you with foster child as soon as possible
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 a written a blog to answer the most common questions asked by prospective foster parents.
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.
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
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.
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.
Fostering with FCA has been everything I hoped it would be and more. I’d do it again without even a second thought.
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.