Choosing to become a foster carer is a big step, and in recognition of that, the Freedom team will be with you at every stage of the process. It usually takes between three to six months to become an approved foster carer, though sometimes it may take longer.

During the process, you will be allocated a social worker who will be working hard to collate your application in readiness for approval.

1. Express an interest in fostering

You can register your interest by:

  • Filling in an application form online

  • Request a call back.

  • Call or email us

  • Pop in for a chat.

During the initial process, if we both agree that you are the right fit for Freedom Fostering, we will organise for a social worker to visit you in home. This provides a great opportunity to get to know each other, and for you to ask any further questions.

If you’re not found to be the right fit, we will write to tell you why.

Gathering more information

During your home visit, we will tell you about:

  • The types of children that we get asked to place.

  • What will happen at every stage of the process

You will have a chance to ask questions too.

During this process, you’ll also be asked to complete a fostering registration form and a consent form. This will enable us to complete:

  • Medical checks

  • Financial checks

  • Police check/enhanced DBS

  • Professional and personal references

  • Ex-partner checks

  • A full safety check on your home including pets.

If you pass, we will start your pre-fostering assessment. If not, we will inform you of the reasons why.

Pre-approval assessment

At this point, your social worker will visit your home to discuss:

  • The reasons why you’d like to foster

  • The types of children you would like foster

  • Your family background

Your social worker will gain a better experience of your family during this time as they spend time in your home. The information gathered during the process will be written up by your social worker in a report called Form F.

Pre-approval training

Training is a compulsory part of the assessment, which prepares you for the challenges in becoming a foster carer. You will:

  • Learn about the needs of children in the care system

  • Understand the commitment needed to foster a child

  • Learn the tools to become better equipped for fostering

Training will involve other applicants, so you will have the opportunity to meet other like-minded people who are preparing to foster.

Foster Panel

The fostering panel is the final stage of the process, and are a group of professionals who have experience working with children, or have direct experience of the care system.

At panel, you will be assessed on the information you have given during the application process, and they will assess the questions you ask during this interview.

The decision to approve you will be made by the Agency Decision Maker.

Matching a child with your criteria

Once you’ve been approved, your social worker will work hard to find the right child based on your criteria.

As your time as a foster carer, you will be involved in monthly training sessions and ongoing support to enable you to stay on top of legislation and your responsibilities.

Likely questions you’ll be asked