The assessment process

All applicants are assessed in accordance with National Minimum Standards for Fostering (link opens in new window) and Fostering Regulations, and are considered equally regardless of their ethnicity, sexuality, religion and beliefs.

What the assessment process entails

A social worker will arrange to meet with you (preferably in your own home) to explore whether you have the right potential to meet the needs of looked after children and answer any questions you may have.

If you wish to continue we will ask you to complete an application form.

As a Local Authority, we have a duty to ensure that all children placed in foster care are safe. Therefore, before you can become a foster carer, we will make important checks with the Health Authority, Disclosure and Barring Service, Local Authority, your GP, the Education Welfare Service, and request your employer and independent referees.

Where necessary we may make other checks as well, such as schools your own children attend.

If you have any criminal convictions or cautions it will not automatically exclude you from becoming a foster carer. It is important to discuss this with your social worker at the beginning of your assessment and to be honest with us.

When we receive your application a social worker will carry out your fostering assessment. You will have an opportunity to ask us more about fostering and discuss the type of fostering you wish to do including the ages of the children you think you are most suited to.

How long does the assessment take?

The assessment normally takes 20 weeks from receipt of your application; this will depend on your own circumstances and the size of your family.
You will be required to attend a four session Skills to Foster training programme and first aid training during the assessment

If you have children of your own it is important for you to talk to them about fostering as it is a way of life for the whole family not just the adults

When the assessment is completed it will be presented to a Fostering Panel. This is made up of Children’s Services representatives, foster carers, health and education professionals.

They will make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker who makes the final decision about whether you are approved to be a foster carer.

Contact us

If you would like further information, please contact the Fostering Team on 0300 300 8181 or email


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