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England - How To become a Foster Carer

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  • If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, the first thing you should do is contact your local fostering service (either the social services department of your local council or an independent fostering agency) and arrange a meeting. They will explain what fostering involves and will help you decide whether you are right for fostering.
  • The first link below will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local authority website where you can find out more about fostering.
  • The second link will help you find an independent fostering agency in your area.
Find out about fostering a child
Find your local fostering agency
  • Once it has been decided you are suitable to become a foster carer, The Criminal Records Bureau will check that you have not committed an offence which would exclude you from fostering. You will also have a health check, to rule out any health problems.
  • A social worker will then help you fill in an application form and you will be asked to attend a group preparation session with other people who are applying.
  • Finally your application will be sent to an independent fostering panel, which will recommend whether or not you can become a foster carer. This can take up to six months.


Required Documents[edit]

  • Identity proof
  • Residential Proof

Office Locations & Contacts[edit]

  • Find out about fostering a child
  • Find your local fostering agency
  • Contacting fostering services in your local area is the first step to becoming a foster carer.
  • Use the link below to browse for fostering services in your local area, or use the search boxes on the right to search by keyword, type of fostering provider or your postcode.
  • Many fostering services hold information events for people to find out more about fostering. Just click on fostering services in your area to find out if they are holding events near you



You can apply to be a foster carer:

  • Whether you have your own children or not
  • If you are single, married or living with a partner
  • If you are in or out of work
  • Whether you live in your own home or rent
  • Whatever your race, religion or sexuality


Explain the fees structure which is required for obtaining the certificate/document.


Explain the time until which the certificate/document is valid.
e.g. Birth Certificate Valid Forever

Documents to Use[edit]

Please attach documents which can be used by people who would like to follow this procedure.    


Sample Documents[edit]

Please attach sample completed documents which would help other people who would like to follow this procedure.    

Processing Time[edit]

Please explain the processing your application.    

Related Videos[edit]

Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type="website">video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites.
Please remove the "&" inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url "" Video ID is "Y0US7oR_t3M". 



  • You can apply to be a foster carer, so long as they have the qualities needed to look after children who cannot live with their parents.
  • There is no maximum age limit for being a foster carer.

Required Information[edit]

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Country of birth
  • Nationality
  • National Insurance number
  • Contact address
  • Telephone/Mobile number


Need for the Document[edit]

You can become a foster carer if you follow below instructions and procedure.

Information which might help[edit]

Enter other informations which might help

Other uses of the Document/Certificate[edit]

Please explain what are other uses of obtaining this document/certificate.
e.g. Birth Certificate can be used as proof of identity.

External Links[edit]

  • Directgov Becoming a foster carer
  • Training and financial support for foster carers
  • Types of fostering



Categories of foster care

  • Emergency: When children need somewhere safe to stay for a few nights
  • Short-term: When carers look after children for a few weeks or months, while plans are made for the child's future
  • Short breaks: When disabled children, children with special needs or children with behavioural difficulties regularly stay for a short time with a family, so that their parents or usual foster carers can have a break
  • Remand: When young people are remanded by a court to the care of a specially trained foster carer
  • Long-term: Not all children who need to permanently live away from their birth family want to be adopted, so instead they go into long-term foster care until they are adults
  • 'Family and friends' or 'kinship': A child who is the responsibility of the local authority goes to live with someone they already know, which usually means family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles or their brother or sister
  • Specialist therapeutic: For children and young people with very complex needs and/or challenging behaviour