Becoming a foster carer

We aim to complete the approval process in six months from our first conversation with you until you become a fully registered foster carer. We know that can seem like a long time, but there are legal requirements to be met as well as your training and development. We believe in getting it right for every looked after child.

Here are the steps that you go through before you can foster.

1) Enquiry

If you have already read our information pack and you think that fostering could be for you, call the fostering team on 0800 358 0899 to complete the first stage of the application process. 

2) Home visit

After we have spoken with you we will arrange a home visit so that we can speak to you and your family together. This is an opportunity for us to give you more information about fostering and also to find out more about you and your family. Together we can discuss whether fostering is right for you. If we have any concerns or there are any other considerations that would affect your application, then we will let you know at this stage.

3) Checks and references

You and everyone in your household who is over 18 will be asked to complete a DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check.  This is what used to be known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check. We will also carry out other checks on the person who will be the main carer, such as a medical with your own doctor, which we will pay for. We will ask you to provide details of personal referees and employment details.

4) Training

We will invite you to attend a training programme. This normally lasts four or five days. You will learn all about fostering and become more familiar with the role of foster carers and the realities of fostering.

5) Assessment

A social worker will assess you and your family's ability to care for and provide a positive and nurturing home for looked after children. This assessment takes about 12 weeks. During this time you will be asked to provide detailed information about many aspects of your life such as your own childhood, relationships and parenting experiences.

6) The fostering panel

The final stage is to present your assessment report to the Sandwell fostering panel. You will be invited to attend the panel with your social worker. The panel will be able to make an informed decision on whether to recommend you as suitable to foster. 

If it is agreed that you are suitable, then you will be ready to start fostering.

If the panel does not recommend that you are suitable to foster you can appeal against the decision either through Sandwell's Fostering Panel appeal process or through the Independent Review Mechanism.