Fostering process

Fostering could be for you whatever your age (minimum age 21, no upper age limit), ethnicity or personal circumstances. If we can be confident that children placed in your care will be safe and well looked after, we will welcome your application. Foster Carers should be physically able to look after the children in their care.

You need time, patience, tolerance and energy. You must be able to share your home and life with others and there's no doubt that a sense of humour goes a long way!

On average, the journey to approval can take around seven months from your first enquiry. This can seem like a long time, but fostering services need to make sure you are suitable, and prepare you as best as possible, to foster a child or young person in your local community, below is a step by step guide on the fostering process.

Below you can find out more about the steps to becoming a Foster Carer for Milton Keynes City Council.

1. Making an enquiry

The first stage is to complete our online enquiry form. A member of the team will contact you to complete the initial enquiry to commence the fostering assessment process.

If we both agree to progress to the initial home visit, a visit will be arranged to your home to discuss fostering further.

2. Completing an Initial Home Visit

Our Fostering Recruitment Officer will meet you at home to discuss your ability to provide a nurturing environment for foster children. It is an excellent opportunity for you to ask any questions you have about fostering.

If you have a partner then it is essential you are both present at the meeting, even if you are going to be the main carer. It gives us the opportunity to learn more about you and your family. We do have a look around your home to confirm you have sufficient space for a child and it meets the needs of children in foster care. We do not expect a luxury home, but a clean, safe and comfortable environment where a child will thrive.

3. Registration of interest and statutory checks

Following the initial home visit a decision will be made about whether to progress to the formal Registration of Interest stage. You will then complete an application form.

As part of your fostering assessment, you will complete a police Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check, a medical check and other statutory checks. You will also be asked to provide personal references.

4. Beginning your training

This is the first training course on your journey to becoming a Foster Carer. It lasts for three days and covers issues and scenarios that you may encounter as a Foster Carer. “Skills to Care” is a great opportunity to meet other people on their foster care journey as well as to think about and develop strategies that you will use when looking after children and young people.

5. The fostering assessment

This is the most in-depth part of the fostering application process. A Social Worker will visit you at home about six to eight times to discuss all aspects of your family life, including your family history, education, employment, parenting skills and your motivation to be a Foster Carer. An assessment will be written up with all of this information which will be shared with you for your feedback.

6. Fostering and permanence panel

You and your assessing Social Worker will attend a Fostering Panel, made up of independent professionals with experience of foster care, who will have read and discussed your assessment report beforehand.

You and your Social Worker will answer questions that have arisen from the report. The Fostering Panel may seem daunting (your Social Worker will be there to support you). Panel’s role is to get a full picture of your potential as a Foster Carer. The Panel will then recommend whether you are approved.

7. Approval as a Foster Carer

Following approval, you will meet with your new fostering supervising Social Worker who will be your first point of support as a Foster Carer. You will then be approached to identify a suitable match for children awaiting placement.

Your supervising Social Worker will ensure your continued development as a Foster Carer.

For more information on Fostering please click the document below

Read the Fostering Information Pack