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The Assessment Process

Although the whole process of assessment can take up to a maximum of eight months, we aim to complete this within four to six months.

We appreciate that on occasions circumstances occur that mean the process is interrupted, for example, if illness or bereavement occurs.

Please be assured that we will always be flexible and work with you to minimise difficulties.

Image by Sharon McCutcheon

Generally the assessment process is as follows:


You make an initial enquiry. You will be asked to clarify some basic details, eg do you have a spare bedroom?

If your responses are positive, you will be offered a home visit, which will enable you to speak to a social worker, and ask questions about fostering and how we can support you.

If this meeting goes well, you will be asked to provide certain information, so that various checks can be carried out, and you will also be invited to attend a Preparation Training Course.

This course will give you information about the key tasks of fostering, and is a mandatory part of the assessment process.

If, during Stage 1, we decide upon receipt of information that applicants are not suitable to proceed, they will be informed in writing of the reasons.

Prospective applicants have no right of appeal, but can use the agency’s complaints procedure, which can consider whether or not the applicants case has been handled in a reasonable way, rather than reaching a conclusion about their suitability to foster.


You will be allocated a social worker, who will make a number of visits to your home to complete a document called a ‘Form F’. This document gives information about your background and the skills you could bring to the fostering task.

When completed, this will be presented to the Fostering Panel, who will make a recommendation as to whether or not you should be approved as a foster carer.

This recommendation will then be ratified by the Agency Decision Maker, who will write to you confirming the decision.

If at Stage 2 it is decided by the Agency Decision Maker not to approve you as a foster carer, you do have a right to challenge this decision within 28 days of receiving written confirmation of the decision.

You could challenge the decision via ALL4U Fostering or seek a review via an independent panel. However, you cannot appeal to this panel if your approval has been turned down due to a conviction or caution which bars you from working with children.

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