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13 Clements Court, Clements Lane, Ilford, IG1 2QY

Fostering Application Process

We aim to make our enquiry and fostering application process for foster carer(s) as easy as possible, to give you peace of mind and ensure you know what is happening every step of the way.

Once we’ve had an initial chat with you over the phone, we will establish if it’s the right time for one of our fostering advisors to visit you at home. This is a great opportunity for us to get to know one another a little better.

Your fostering adviser will be able to answer all your questions and tell you about fostering with SSFA. They’ll explain what becoming a foster parent involves, the different types of fostering available and the next steps you’ll take on your journey.

Once you have had your initial home visit or virtual visit via video call, you will be invited to apply. This means completing a fostering application form and giving your consent for us to obtain statutory checks and references.

As part of the Fostering Application Process, we’ll carry out a number of important and vital checks and references.

Disclosure and barring service:

Disclosure and barring service, also known as a DBS check, (formally CRB) for every individual who’s over 18 and living within the fostering household. We may also need to complete a DBS on some adults outside of your household, who may be in regular contact with a child in your care.

Local authority checks:

Local authority – we will undertake residency checks for the last ten years, or longer if needed. We will also make enquiries to local authorities and their child protection records (including previous involvement with services for children or vulnerable adults).


Health medical assessment – a medical report will be completed by your GP. This report will highlight any health conditions that may affect your ability to care for children and young people. Having an underlying medical condition won’t automatically disqualify you from becoming a foster parent; it will completely depend on how you manage your condition.

Home assessment:

A member of our friendly local team will carry out a full safety check on your home to ensure the environment is safe, secure and well maintained for children and young people. We may offer some recommendations and offer advice to ensure your home will be ready for fostering a child.

Pet assessment:

We know that pets are part of your family too. Animals can help children to relax and settle into a new home, but we do need to make sure there is no risk involved. We’ll complete a pet questionnaire to help us determine whether your pet is safe to be around foster children. We cannot accept applications from anybody who has a banned breed in the UK, as part of the Dangerous Dog Act.

Evidence of permanent residency or citizenship:

If required, you will be asked to provide the necessary evidence.

Fostering Assessment:

Following your application once it has been accepted, we will undertake a fostering assessment which is carried out by your allocated assessing social worker. The assessment includes information about you and your life which help us to identify what individual skills to foster that you have and qualities you will bring to the role of a foster carer.

What’s involved?

Your assessing social worker will visit you and your family at home a number of times over a few months to speak to you and collect information about you and your life. Your assessor will talk to you about your childhood and past relationships, work history, health, family and personal interests. They’ll help you to identify your support network and carry out checks, such as a home safety check and if you have pets will conduct a pet questionnaire. They’ll also visit family members or friends who you’ve nominated as referees. All of this information will be detailed in a document called a Form F.

During this time, you’ll also attend a preparatory fostering training course. This is a pre-approval course designed to help you find out more about fostering. It’s a great opportunity to speak to people who are already fostering, get a real insight into what you’ll be doing and meet other potential foster carers from your local area.

What’s next?

After completing the Form F, your assessor will help you prepare for the Fostering Panel. This is a group of fostering professionals who will consider your assessment and make a recommendation regarding your approval as a foster carer. Subsequently, the Panel’s recommendations are reviewed by the Agency Decision Maker. Following ADM decision, you’ll be an approved foster parent(s) and can begin to foster children so you can make a real difference to vulnerable children and young people’s lives.

The process from beginning to end can take between 4 – 6 months and our foster care professionals will be there to make it as easy as possible.

To find out more about the application process or to take the first step on your fostering journey, call us on 07440246015 and our fostering advisors will be happy to help.

Alternatively, you can complete our short enquiry form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.