How to Become a Foster Parent

The decision to foster is not an easy one to make, but we'll be here to support you every step of the way

There are many different reasons why families start to foster but they all have one thing in common – a wish to help children and young people who are going through a difficult time in their lives. It takes very special people to foster and you will also have an important part to play.

The Fostering Process

Becoming an approved foster carer is an important process, usually taking several months. During this time we will get to know you and your family, carry out a number of checks and prepare you for the challenges and rewards of fostering.

Step 1: Contact us

To begin the process, fill out the form on this page. A member of our friendly Foster Carer Recruitment Team from your region will then call you with a few simple questions to check that you meet our basic criteria. They will explain some of the practicalities of fostering, tell you about the sort of placement requests we receive and answer any questions you may have about the training, support, rewards and benefits we offer.

If you would prefer to talk to someone first to learn a bit more about fostering, give us a call on 0800 566 8317.

Step 2: Home visit

We’ll visit you to learn more about you and your family. We’ll also tell you about the fostering process, the support we give and answer any questions you may have. At the end of a home visit, if everyone is happy to proceed, we will leave you with a couple of forms to fill out and an Assessments Explained brochure which will tell you everything you need to know about the next stage. If you decide that fostering is not right for you and your family this is perfectly fine. Equally, we will be open and honest with you and will tell you if we do not think that your circumstances are suited to fostering with us.

Step 3: Assessment

One of our experienced social workers will visit you regularly over several months to find out more about your life and experiences. This will help us to build a picture of what you and your family could bring to fostering.

The assessment process is thorough because it needs to prepare you for the challenges and rewards that fostering brings. We will need to understand your reasons for wanting to foster so that we can establish what sort of children and young people would be best suited to your family.

A number of checks will be undertaken as part of our assessment including references, disclosure & barring service check, health and Local Authority checks. Having a criminal record or a health problem does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to foster but it is important that you are honest with us. We need to know about these issues from the beginning so that we can discuss and understand your circumstances.

During the assessment process you will have to attend a three day Skills to Foster training course which is designed to help you learn about fostering alongside others going through the process. This training is an important foundation to give you the confidence to take your first fostering placement.

If you’d like to hear a first hand account of the fostering process, read a blog by one of our carers about their experience of the fostering assessment.

Step 4: Fostering Panel

At the end of the assessment process, the information gathered will be signed by both parties and presented in a report to our Fostering Panel. This is a group of skilled and experienced individuals who have been chosen because of their wealth of knowledge about fostering. You and your assessor will be asked to meet the panel and clarify any last questions you or they may have.

You can learn about the sort of questions you will be asked during your fostering panel here.

If the panel are satisfied that our preparation has been thorough, they will recommend your approval as a foster carer. This approval will be passed to our Agency Decision Maker who will consider the panel’s verdict and ultimately decide whether or not to accept its recommendation.

Step 5: Training and support

Once you have been approved, you will be closely supported by your Supervising Social Worker and receive ongoing training through your Personal Development Programme. Learn more about the training that we offer at Compass.

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