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Step by step process to fostering a child

Caring for children and young people is a special role and one that we need to be sure you are prepared for. Understandably, there are a number of steps in becoming a foster carer so that we can assess you and how you would care for a child to help make sure your young people are kept safe.

Take the first step

If you're ready to take the first step to becoming a foster carer, let us know by filling in your details on our Express your interest in adopting or fostering a child form so that we can contact you. 

Once we've confirmed your details, we'll contact you to discuss fostering in more detail and if you've not already been, invite you along to one of our Fostering information events. We will make an initial visit to your home to meet with you and your family, to explore whether fostering is right for you and whether the timing is right.

Two stages

Once you are ready to begin there are two stages to the fostering process, the assessment process should take about six months to complete. 

Stage One - initial preparation and training

  • Application form - you'll be asked to complete a detailed application form which will help us to begin your assessment.
  • Prepare to foster course - you'll be invited to our course to help you find out more about fostering, the children who need foster carers and how you can prepare for a child coming to live with you.
  • Checks - initial checks will be carried out to make sure there are no concerns about you caring for a child. These include police, medical and personal references.

Stage Two - assessment 

  • Fostering assessment - you will be assigned a fostering social worker who will work with you to complete your fostering assessment. They will visit you regularly to get to know you and assess your suitability to foster. 
  • Completing your assessment - your social worker will write up all of the information from your assessment and share the report with you. You'll have a chance to make any comments.
  • Approval - once your assessment is complete, it will be presented to the Fostering Panel. This is a group of people who specialise in fostering, including a foster carer, representatives from Children's Services and independent members. The panel will make a recommendation on your suitability as a foster carer. Following this, our agency decision maker, a senior manager, will make the final decision to approve you as a foster family.

What happens next?

Once you have been approved as a foster carer you'll be allocated a social worker called a 'Fostering Supervising Social Worker' who will help you to prepare for a child coming to stay with you. They will continue to support you throughout, making sure you get the help and support that you need and identify any types of training that you might need to help you.

Contact us
03000 269 400
Our address is:
  • Children and Young People's Services
  • Spectrum 8
  • Spectrum Business Park
  • Seaham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • SR7 7TT
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