How to become a foster carer
You can get into this role by applying directly.
You do not need any specific qualifications to become a foster carer.
However, it might help to take a college course, such as:
- level 1 award in introduction to health, social care and children's and young people's settings
- level 2 award in safeguarding and protecting children and young people
- level 2 certificate in children and young people's workforce
You'll usually need:
- 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
Anyone can become a foster carer. Local councils and agencies want to recruit a diverse range of foster carers regardless of sexuality, ethnicity, religion or marital status.
Assessment and training
Once you've applied to become a foster carer, you'll go through an assessment and a training programme. This is to make sure you could meet the needs of the children you'll foster.
Each council and agency will have slightly different assessments and training. You might:
- learn skills at a preparation course
- attend groups to talk to existing foster carers
- spend time with a social worker who will ask about your personal history
If you're a couple, you both have to complete the training and pass the assessment.
Once you've completed the assessment, your social worker will write a report and present this to a panel who will decide if you can become a foster carer.
The report will outline your skills and any areas where you need more training or support. You can see the report and add your own comments before it's submitted to the panel.
It might help your application if you have experience looking after children. This could be from caring for your own children or other children in your family.
Your whole family will be involved in fostering. It's important to tell them you're applying to be a foster carer. You should be clear with them about what is involved and the support you'll need.