How to become a foster carer
You can get into this role through:
- a college course
- specialist courses run by training organisations
You could prepare for foster care work by taking a college qualification, though this is not essential. Courses include:
- 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 for the 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
You would go through a preparation and assessment programme to make sure you could meet the needs of each child or young person placed with you.
During a preparation programme you would:
- do pre-approval training, learn skills and get ready for fostering
- attend groups to learn about the needs of children coming into foster care
- have visits to your home by a social worker
Fostering service providers will usually organise training to fit in with people who are working during the week, so this may take place in the evening or at weekends.
Becoming a foster carer is open to you, whatever your marital status, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
Having childcare experience of either working with, or caring for children, including your own or relatives' children can be useful.
Your whole family will be involved in fostering, so it's important that everyone is clear about what is involved.