how to become a foster parent uk

How to become a foster parent

You’ll be in good hands throughout your application to become a foster parent with ISP - we're here to support you on your journey. Find out more about how you can apply to be a foster carer.

Become a foster parent

Becoming a foster parent is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do – you’re giving a child who may not have had the best start in life, a chance to flourish with your love, care and understanding.

The fostering process may not be as difficult as you think – we’ll aim to complete your fostering assessment within 4-6 months. However, we’ll always move at a pace that’s right for you.

This guide shares how to become a foster parent – from initial enquiry to fostering panel, and everything in between. And when you’re ready to take your first step, you’ll have a local, dedicated team to support you.

Steps to become a foster carer

  • Talk to us about fostering

    The first step is to enquire online and speak to our team about fostering a child.

  • Home visit (or video call)

    We'll visit you at home or virtually through a video call to get to know you better.

  • Fostering assessment

    When you're ready to take the next step in your fostering journey, you'll complete an application form and if accepted, we'll start your Form F assessment.

  • Preparatory training

    With over 30 year's experience in therapeutic fostering, we'll give you all the skills you need to make a life-changing difference.

  • Panel and approval

    This is the final step where your assessment will be reviewed by an independent fostering panel, before our agency decision maker confirms your approval.

  • Your first child

    Our dedicated referrals team will get to know you and expertly match you with your first child or young person.

Introduction Into Fostering Download

Just starting to think about fostering?

Our Introduction to Fostering guide is the perfect place to start. Download it today and discover the world of fostering.


Referrals and matching

Once approved as a foster parent, one of our experienced referrals officers will be in touch to get to know you and your family. We build strong relationships with our foster parents, so we can expertly match the needs of children with our families, ensuring an enjoyable experience for everyone.

We receive thousands of referrals from local authorities every month and identify the young people who are a suitable match for your family, including your preferences, family dynamics, skills and experience.

We’ll send you all the information we have on the child and work with the local authority to answer any questions you may have. Together, we can help you decide whether this is the right child for you and your family.

The local authority will look at the various foster families put forward, and make the final decision.

Foster care matching process

How long does it take to become a foster carer?

It takes around four to six months to become a foster parent. This includes a series of home visits with your dedicated assessing social worker, background checks and references, and some preparatory training.

It's an important process to make sure that you're right for fostering, and that fostering is right for you.

What do I need to become a foster carer?

The minimum requirements to become a foster carer are that you’re over 21 years old, have the right to live and work in the UK and that you have a spare bedroom in your home that’s always available to a child in foster care.

You’ll also need to be committed to making a positive difference to a child, resilient, kind and nurturing. Find out more about the fostering requirements

How to apply to be a foster carer?

If you’ve enquired about fostering with us and are ready to take the next step, you can apply to become a foster carer using our online application form.

How long does the fostering process take?

The fostering process takes around four to six months, which includes the initial training, assessment and panel. While it may seem like a long process, it’s important to make sure that fostering is right for you and that you’re fully prepared for caring for a vulnerable child.

Speak to our team today

Whether you're looking for more information on how to foster a child or you're ready to apply for foster care, we're here to help you take the next step to fostering and start your journey.

Please make sure you read our terms and conditions because you're agreeing to them by submitting an enquiry. It's also worth reading our privacy policy and cookies policy so you understand how we collect and use your personal data.