The fostering process

A step-by-step guide to becoming a foster carer.

When you contact us, we will contact you within 2 days to give you more information about fostering.

If you meet the criteria, we will arrange to visit you at home to learn more about you and your interest in fostering. This will help you and us to decide if fostering is right for you and your family.

Following the visit, we will contact you to let you know if we would like you to continue with your enquiry and for you to let us know your decision about moving to the next stage. 

There are 2 stages to becoming a foster carer.

Stage 1


  • We will ask you to complete an application form, giving us consent to undertake the necessary checks to foster.

Checks and references

  • We will start a series of checks, including Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS police), personal references, partner (or former partner) checks (if applicable), education if you have school-aged children and with your employer (if applicable), as well as a medical check. There may also be other checks, depending on individual circumstances.
  • All adults aged 18 and above in the household will also need DBS checks.
  • You will be asked to make an appointment with your general practitioner to have a medical assessment.

Preparation training

  • You will be invited to our Skills to Foster training, where you can learn alongside other applicants, find out more about the fostering role and decide if fostering is right for you. If it is a joint application, both applicants are required to attend. This training is delivered by our Fostering team and includes foster carers and previously looked after children.
  • We will then arrange to meet with you to talk about moving to the next stage of assessment (Stage two). If this is right for you and your family, a social worker will be assigned to work with you to complete the final stage of preparation and assessment of you as foster carers.

Our aim is to complete stage 1 within 2 months.

Stage 2

The Form F Assessment

  • Also known as the Home Study, this assessment will help prepare you further for fostering.
  • Your social worker will visit you on a regular basis to complete the assessment with you and members of your household.
  • You will receive regular feedback from your assessing social worker and, together, you will determine if fostering is right for you and your family.
  • Your assessing social worker will prepare a report based on the work you have undertaken together, this is called a Form F. 

Hillingdon Fostering Panel

  • To be approved as a foster carer, your Form F assessment is presented to the independent Hillingdon Fostering Panel, which you will be invited to attend with your assessing social worker.
  • The panel will be familiar with your report.
  • If fostering is right for you and your family, your approval as a foster carer will be considered by Hillingdon's Fostering Panel.

Agency decision maker approval

  • The panel recommendation will be sent to the agency decision maker to review, along with the papers sent to panel, so that they can make the final decision about approving you as a foster carer.

    Our aim is to complete stage 2 within 4 months but this can vary according to individual circumstances. 

    What happens next?

    • If successful and you are approved as a foster carer with Hillingdon Council, you will receive a welcome pack and be assigned a supervising social worker, who will support and work with you in your new role.
    • At this point, you are eligible to foster and will be contacted when a child needs to be placed. This could be within a few days or weeks of your approval as a foster carer.

    Ready to take the first step?

    Contact us

    Page last updated: 14 Jun 2024