Questions about the application process

Some frequently asked questions

Every child and young person is different. We need foster carers from diverse backgrounds and with different circumstances to support loving homes for:

  • babies
  • toddlers
  • children
  • young people
  • teenagers
  • sibling groups

There are very few barriers to becoming a foster carer but you do need to meet certain eligibility criteria to apply. To become an approved foster carer anywhere in the UK you must also go through a process of assessment and checks. Our team will provide you with support each step of the way.

To be eligible to be a foster carer, along with the energy and desire to change the lives of children and young people:

  • you must be over the age of 18 to be a foster carer though some foster service providers will require you to be at least 21
  • you need a spare furnished bedroom to foster a child over 2 or young person, which is not used by anyone else. Some of our partners recruit foster carers specifically for children under 2 years old where a spare room is not always required. This will be discussed during your initial visit
  • you must have the right to live and work in the UK

If you have specific questions about your circumstances and your suitability for fostering, please contact us for a no-pressure chat. 

Waiting to hear about big decisions can be tense. We want everyone to know the outcome of their application as soon as possible.  We aim for all prospective foster carers applications to complete at panel stage within 24 weeks or less.

During this process, the Foster for East Midlands team will be on hand to answer your questions and offer support, so you know what to expect and when. For foster carers transferring to Foster for East Midlands the approval process can often move more quickly. For transferring foster carers, it can take as little as 12-16 weeks to be assessed and approved.

Whether you're brand new to foster care or a current foster carer transferring to us, the very first step of your fostering journey is to get in touch for a no-commitment chat. You can:

We’ll be pleased to speak with you and answer any questions.

As an information and support hub for local authority foster care we are able to guide you through the initial application process. Each and every local authority will require you to pass checks and a two-stage assessment, as required by UK government regulations.

You can read more about the process on the how to become a foster carer page.

The foster carer application process is all about getting to know you and your motivations for fostering. You'll be asked questions to see if fostering is right for you and your family and to assess your potential to meet the needs of different children or types of fostering. The questions you are asked will explore the personal history, background and circumstances of you and family. They can feel intrusive at times but are necessary to form a full picture and inform the next steps.

Examples of questions you may be asked during the foster carer assessment process:

  • What was your childhood like?
  • How do you and your partner (if relevant) support one another?
  • How do any children living with you or other members of your family feel about you fostering?

It's our job to find safe, stable, and loving homes for children and young people across the East Midlands region. We need to find the right home for the right child, and we focus on building trusting relationships with foster carers. To do this, we get to know you well. The fostering assessment explores your skills, circumstances and personal qualities and includes checks and stages of assessment that are mandatory in the UK.

No. There's no upper age limit to become a foster carer. What's important is that you're committed to helping children and young people and able to give them support and care. Many foster carers come to fostering in their later years when they have more time to commit. If this sounds like you, you'll need to be in good health and have the energy to meet the needs of children who will stay with you. We know how valuable life experience can be when it comes to tackling the challenges of fostering.

Fostering and adoption can both involve caring for a child on a long-term basis but there are some big differences between adopting and fostering a child or young person.

Legal permanence - in long-term fostering, a child or young person may stay with you until adulthood or beyond. But in adoption, the child legally becomes part of your family.

Legal responsibility - in fostering, the legal responsibility for a child usually rests with their parents and/or the local authority. In adoption, you take on full legal responsibility for the child.