Steps to fostering

Fostering provides a safe, caring family life for children who cannot live with their own parents. The assessment process can take up to 6 months, depending on your individual circumstances.

For more information on Fostering in Nottinghamshire sign up to get regular email updates.

Once you've decided you would like to foster, the first step is to contact us to discuss how you could make a difference to a child's life and what type of fostering might be most appropriate for you.

You can give us a call on 0115 804 4440, email us at, come along to an information evening and download an information pack [PDF] to read more about fostering.

If you give us a call, one of our dedicated recruitment team members will have an initial chat with you, answer any questions you have and take some details. If you email us, one of our recruitment team will call you back to have the initial chat at a time convenient to you. You will be invited to an information event or alternatively we will come out to see you in your home.

A supervising social worker from our assessment team will contact you to discuss your interest and arrange a convenient time to visit you and your family and talk though any questions you may have. There will be a follow up visit, giving you a chance to think about the decision to foster. We would also offer you a buddy visit from one of our foster carers to discuss what fostering is like from a foster carers point of view.

You will hopefully have had lots of information and decided fostering is right for you. There is some paperwork to complete, such as consenting to checks and references. You will be supported at every step of the process. 

To prepare you for the role, you will attend pre- approval training. The course covers:

  • Understanding the role of the foster carer, the child’s social worker and other agencies
  • Training, support and development standards for foster care
  • Child Development
  • Separation and loss
  • The impact of early childhood experience on attachment and behaviour
  • Positive approaches to managing behaviour
  • Health needs of children and young people
  • Diversity and identity
  • Child protection and handling disclosures of abuse
  • Safer Care practices
  • Maintaining links and moving on

Assessment involves a supervising social worker visiting you several times to get to know you, your family, frequent visitors, your home and your experiences to make sure you can offer a child safety, security and stability.

The supervising social worker writes a detailed report covering all the information you have shared, outlining your abilities and attributes. You will see this report and have the opportunity to add your own comments in writing.

Your detailed application report will then be presented to the fostering panel. Fostering panel comprises of members, some may have a relevant qualification, experience in adoption or fostering, or may have spent time in foster care themselves. You will be encouraged to attend the panel with your supervising social worker, where the panel may ask you or the service any questions they have.

The panel decides whether to recommend your approval to the Agency Decision Maker, who then considers their recommendation to reach a decision. You will then receive a letter confirming this and a certificate if you are approved.

If you haven’t been approved, your supervising social worker will explain why, and you may be able to reapply in the future.

Once you’ve been approved, the fostering team will endeavour to find a match that is right for you, your family and the foster child.

You will receive ongoing support and guidance from your supervising social worker. You will also receive support from a buddy carer. We have a fantastic training programme and several courses for you to choose from, which will encourage your learning and development as a foster care for Nottinghamshire County Council.

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