Becoming a Foster Carer

You’ll be supported throughout your application to become a foster carer (also known as a foster parent) with National Fostering Group. As the UK’s largest and most experienced agency, we’re with you every step of the way.

How to become a foster carer

If you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer in the UK by joining National Fostering Group, that’s brilliant! Good foster carers really make a difference to young lives, and carers also find it very rewarding for themselves and their families.

Right now, we want to make sure you have all the information and support you need to take your next steps to becoming a foster carer. After all, you’re making an important, life-changing decision that will also affect your family and friends. Let’s start with an overview of the different stages of the application process.



Talk to us about fostering

Your next step to becoming a foster carer is to get in touch with our team.



Your home visit

We will arrange to meet with you and your family at your home for an Initial Home Visit.



Your fostering application form

As you might expect with such an important role, we’ll need to take a detailed look at your life.



Collaborative assessment

Your assessing social worker will work with you to complete Form F and prepare you for the panel meeting and the requirements of fostering.



Skills to Foster training

As one of the UK’s most experienced fostering agencies, we’re committed to excellence. We want to give you all the skills you need to be your best.



Fostering Panel meeting

A Fostering Panel carries out a final check of all the information that has been gathered throughout the assessment process and makes its recommendation.



Your first child

Once your Skills to Foster course has been completed and the ADM has approved your application, you’ll be ready for your first child.

Fostering – how long does it take?

Caring for children and young people is an incredibly important and specialist commitment, so we need to get to know each other well and be sure it’s right for everyone concerned.

The assessment process therefore includes meetings and background checks. However, there are two ways we can do this, and each has its own timeline.

The usual process of applying to be a foster carer

Once you get in touch, the usual process of applying to be a foster carer will take from four to six months (16 to 26 weeks), including your training.

This process suits every fostering applicant. You might want more time to work through the assessments and find your headspace. 

Or you might have worked abroad, and you realise that background checks take more time to be returned from overseas.

Once completed, it means you could be approved as a foster carer and welcoming your first foster child placement within six months – probably as soon as you’re approved.

Fast-track fostering applications

Once you get in touch, the fast track process of applying to be a foster carer will take two months (eight weeks), including your training. 

The fast track process is geared towards filling the national deficit in foster carers more quickly – around 8,000 children are awaiting a foster home and we’re keen to turn this around.

This process suits people who have time to immerse themselves in the application. It includes exactly the same diligent checks as the usual process, but they happen within a shorter timeframe. 

Which means you’d need to be readily available in the daytimes during the eight-week application to have meetings with your assessing social worker and the Fostering Panel.

Once completed, it means you could be approved as a foster carer and welcoming your first foster child placement in two months – probably as soon as you’re approved.

Find out about Fast Track

Fostering children in the UK

Sadly, thousands of foster children in the UK urgently need a stable, nurturing home where they can thrive. As soon as you’ve been approved to become a foster carer with the National Fostering Group, our team will use the information you’ve provided to match you with your first foster child. Your local National Fostering Group agency will continue to support you during your role.

As young adults, taking the leap to become fostering carers seemed scary. Our local National Fostering Group agency provided encouragement, education and understand the challenges that are involved with being a foster carers. It's a rewarding experience.

Nikiece, National Fostering Group foster carer

Ongoing support when you foster a child

We know how potential foster carers value the support we give them while they are applying to foster a child. We’re also committed to continuing to support you once you’ve been accepted.

National Fostering Group sees this as an ongoing relationship where we can work together to provide the best care and outcomes. It’s a challenging role to foster a child and you’ll find it reassuring to know there’s a team behind you.

We often talk about National Fostering Group being a family, and we mean it. Because our agencies are based locally, you’ll really benefit from the personal contact you have with the people who can support you.

The level of support we give our foster carers is one of the main reasons they continue to foster children with us year after year. We will advise you, fight your corner, celebrate your achievements and be there for you as you become an advocate for your foster children.

I have and always would recommend the National Fostering Group. They have been amazing for us and we’ve never thought about moving away from them.

Jodie, National Fostering Group foster carer

Start your fostering journey with National Fostering Group

  • We have fostering agencies all across the UK
  • Over 3,000 carers already part of our family
  • Benefit from our local support groups and social workers