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How to Become a Foster Carer

Information on applying to become a foster carer.

Fostering - where do you go from here?
Fostering - where do you go from here?

There is a 10 step process:

1. You read all the background information about fostering in our pdf icon Fostering Leaflet [837kb].

2. You register your interest in becoming a Foster Carer with West Lothian Council. Please see link to the pdf icon Fostering Enquiry Form [54kb].

3. A social worker from West Lothian Council Family Placement Team contacts you to arrange an initial home visit.

4. You are invited to attend a Preparation Group - All prospective foster carers are required to attend training to prepare themselves and their household for a career in fostering with West Lothian Council. You will cover the following topics:

  • What do Foster Carers do?
  • Who are the Children and Young People?
  • Working together
  • Safer Caring
  • Understanding Behaviour
  • Moving on

5. You decide if you want to formally apply to become a carer.

6. Start the assessment - A social worker will be allocated.

7. Your worker will look at your relevant skills, knowledge and experiences.  We call these competencies.  We assess your competencies by gathering information about you from a wide range of sources (checks and references) and from the evidence you give yourself about your skills.  This process is called the home study.

  • Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) police disclosure check
  • Full medical
  • Local authority checks
  • Personal references
  • Employment history
  • Employment reference
  • Previous partners and older and adult children

We aim to complete the home study process within six months.

8. Your assessing social worker writes a report outlining your skills, training needs and areas of vulnerability. You will contribute to this report. A recommendation is made about what kind of fostering your should be approved for and the age and number of children you could care for.

9. Fostering Panel

Once all the information has been gathered the report is submitted to a Fostering Panel who recommend whether the applicant is suitable to foster. You are expected to attend.

10. Approval decision

If you are approved you will receive more information and training opportunities.

  • A child/young person will be placed with you.
  • Your approval is reviewed annually, or when there is significant change in your circumstances.

If you are not approved, discuss the reasons with your social worker. Sometimes it may be possible to re-apply in the future. You can appeal against the decision, and your social worker will ensure that you are given information on the appeal procedures.