Becoming a foster carer is an incredibly rewarding experience. Foster carers have the opportunity to make a life-changing difference to the lives of the children and young people they support.
As foster carers look after vulnerable children in their own homes, it is essential that every potential foster carer is assessed on their suitability first. This takes place before undergoing initial (mandatory) training to properly equip them with the skills required for this task.
How long does it take to become a foster parent?
The process of becoming a foster parent can take around 6 months. A potential foster parent or family is assessed and interviewed to determine their suitability. The length of your assessment will depend on the complexity of your situation and family composition. For example, if you have previous partners, grown-up children or other family circumstances involving additional adult family members they will all have to be checked and interviewed as part of the process.
Do I need qualifications to be a foster carer?
You do not need any specific educational or training qualifications to apply as a foster carer. Your fostering agency will give you the training needed to support you and your family to identify the strengths and vulnerabilities you have. There is mandatory training such as 1st aid, safeguarding and report writing and record keeping. In addition there will be regular ongoing training. You will be expected to complete the training once you are approved as a foster carer. They will give you additional training for new skills in any necessary areas.
Once your application is approved, as a foster carer in England you will be expected to participate in all relevant professional learning and development. You are required to complete the Training, Support and Development Standards (TSDS) for foster care as part of your first year of fostering. You will be fully supported in completing this.
Will I need to pass health checks?
All foster carer applicants in the UK must take a medical to assess their ability to care for a child or young person. Long-term health conditions must be declared and will be taken into consideration during the assessment period. The deciding factor will always be whether you are physically and psychologically healthy enough to care for a child. This may vary depending upon the ages of the children in question, and their individual needs.
People with previous mental health conditions can apply to foster. This will be discussed as part of the application process. All conditions must be declared and assessed as part of your application.
Is my house suitable for fostering?
You should have a bedroom available for each child you foster. Babies may share a foster carer’s bedroom under most circumstances, up to a certain age (usually around 12-18 months).
Your house will be assessed to make sure it is a safe and secure environment for foster children. Suggestions will be made for adaptations and changes if appropriate.
Become a Diagrama foster carer
Diagrama is a non-profit foster care agency which diverts any surplus back into supporting the vulnerable children in our care. If you are interested in offering vulnerable children the chance of a brighter future, then book a call with our team to find out how you can become a foster carer.
Alternatively you can download our booklet. Our booklet contains everything you need to know about making a difference to a child’s life through fostering.