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The fostering process

Find out about the steps to go through to become a foster carer.

"I have been a foster carer for over a year now and find it the most rewarding job I have ever done. Children deserve someone to love and appreciate them. I have felt very honoured to be that person to a few young people already."

Alex, Foster Carer

Step 1: You make an initial enquiry

The first step to becoming a foster carer is to talk to us. The best way to do this is to complete a quick enquiry form. You can also email or come to one of our regular information sessions.

At this initial stage, you're only expressing an interest in becoming a foster carer.

Step 2: We arrange an initial appointment and preliminary assessment

We'll arrange an initial appointment for an experienced social worker to visit you at your home. They will talk to you about your background, skills and abilities and you'll have the opportunity to ask any questions. A decision is then made about whether to offer you a full assessment.

Step 3: You complete an application form and we check references

If you progress to the next stage, you'll need to complete an application form. We'll take up references and make checks with the police, your local social services department, Ofsted, previous partners who you have parented children with, your previous employers and your social media accounts. These checks are to ensure the safety of children and are government requirements.

Step 4: We do a full assessment

We then assess your suitability to foster and make several visits to you and your family over a period of time. This is also an opportunity for you to learn more about what fostering involves. If you're a couple, it's important that you are both assessed.

We'll request for you to be approved for children aged between 0 to 17 years. However, please let us know if you have a preference to be considered for certain groups of children; for example their age, gender or siblings and if you want to do short or long-term fostering. During this stage, we'll expect you to attend a preparation training course for three days over two weeks.

Step 5: The Southwark Fostering Panel make a final decision

The social worker assessing you will write a detailed report which you must agree is accurate. This will then be presented to Southwark's Fostering Panel. The panel is made up of professionals who are experts in the fields of fostering, childcare, health and education. The panel members then decide whether to recommend that you become an approved foster carer.


Page last updated: 11 April 2024


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