​There are currently more than 1,000 vulnerable children and young people in Northamptonshire and many of them are in need of a loving foster home where they are supported to learn, grow and progress.

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Footsteps to Fostering

Step 1 – Your enquiry

Get in touch to let us know you’re interested in becoming a foster carer.  You can do this by:

Once we know you are interested, our professional and friendly team will tell you a little more and invite you along to one of our open evenings where you will be able to learn about the children and young people needing loving foster homes, meet our fantastic foster carers and talk more to the team who will answer all your questions and tell you more about the process of becoming a foster carer.

There is no obligation to take your enquiry further if you are not ready at this stage, we will work together with you to make sure the time is right and that you have everything needed to become a foster carer.


We were nervous going along to the open evening, it’s such a big step and feels so real when you get the invite. 

"We needn’t have worried though, the team were so welcoming and lovely, and it really helped us make the decision that fostering was definitely something we wanted to do.”   


Step 2 - Home visit

If you are happy to proceed to the next step, and you have all the requirements needed to be a foster carer, a social worker from our team will arrange a time suitable for you to visit your home to talk through your enquiry in more detail including your personal circumstances.

You will probably have more questions at this stage, and we can talk these through with you to give you all the information you need about fostering, including more detail about the next steps on your journey to becoming a foster carer.


“Our social worker was really supportive and helpful.  He answered all our questions and helped manage our expectations about the process.”​


Step 3 - Stage one

At this stage you will be allocated a social worker who will work through a fostering assessment pack with you which includes detailed background checks, a health check and references.  Your social worker will support you through this.

Children and young people who are fostered are very vulnerable, and this helps us to find out about your potential as a foster carer.  It also helps us decide together with you about the type of fostering you could do, and the different children and young people you could foster.

At stage one, you will also begin a training programme to help develop your skills and knowledge in different areas connected to fostering which will help prepare you for the role.  The preparation training is based on adult learning methods and will be a mix of presentations and discussions, as well as online learning, and will give you the opportunity to meet others going through the process as well as experienced foster carers.


“I was really pleased to start reading about all the training and support you’re given as a foster carer.  I’m looking forward to developing in the role and giving the best care I can to a young person.”


Step 4 - Stage two

Stage two involves a comprehensive assessment including your family background, your family life and relationships.

As part of your training, there may also be some home study to do during stage two, which your social worker will support you with.  You will also be linked with a buddy foster carer who is experienced in fostering, they will help guide you through stage two, share their experiences and give you support and advice when you need it.

During this step we will confirm the type of fostering that is best for you and your family, and the age range of the children and young people you could foster.

When your assessment is complete, you will be given the chance to read it before it is presented to the fostering panel for consideration.


“There’s a lot to go through and it does feel daunting.  But you have to remember that if it was about your own child, you would want every check possible to make sure they were going into a loving, safe home. 

The fostering team were very supportive and kept us updated throughout the process, and our buddy foster carer was brilliant.”


Step 5 - Fostering panel

Our fostering panel is made up of experienced children’s social care professionals who will consider your application to become a foster carer with us. 

The panel will make a recommendation to the decision maker, and it will then be decided if you are approved to become a foster carer.  Your social worker will keep you updated and will give you all the support you need during this step.


“It’s very overwhelming knowing that your application is being presented to the fostering panel.  You feel so hopeful that you will be approved to be a foster carer so you can start your journey and help improve children’s lives.”​


Step 6 - Approval

If your application is approved by the decision maker, they will confirm that you are approved as a foster carer with Northamptonshire County Council, and it won’t be long until you are welcoming a child or young person into your home.

Your social worker will keep you informed and if you are approved they will work closely with you to match you with the children and young people needing a loving home that you could foster.


“The matching process is vital, and there can be hurdles along the way.  I remember our first foster child arriving and feeling daunted and not knowing what to expect. 

I couldn’t wait to give them the love and support they needed and keep them safe, and just knew what I needed to do.”


Step 7 - Training and support

We will train and support you every step of the way, and once you are approved you will be able to take part in a vast range of training courses to help you develop and grow in your role as a foster carer. 

Training courses are run by friendly, experienced professionals and include different topics such as behaviour, attachment, health, disability, communication, drugs and alcohol, internet safety, life story work – to name a few!

You will be put in touch with local foster carer support groups and there will be support for your own children if needed, and you will be invited to join the Northamptonshire Foster Carers’ Association (NFCA) and be given membership to national fostering organisation, The Fostering Network.


“The training and support you get as a foster carer is really useful and helps you build your skills, there’s so much to learn.  What I enjoy most about it is meeting other foster carers and sharing experiences with them. 

We all give each other advice and support and it’s nice to know others understand and can help with the different challenges you can go through as a foster carer.”