How do I become a foster carer?

Applying to be a foster carer usually takes about six months but the timescales do vary depending on the nature of each application.

Step 1 - Reach out

We understand that fostering isn’t an easy decision. Whether you take months or years to decide, our team are available to have as many conversations as you would like about fostering and why you should foster with Wigan Council.

We would definitely recommend doing your research to find out more about Wigan’s fostering offer, the help and support available, and our fostering community

If you decide you are ready to take the next step in your journey, you can complete our fostering enquiry form or call us on 01942 487200. No question is too big or too small..

Step 2 - Let's talk

Once you make initial contact with our team, we'll arrange a phone call with one of our recruitment team at a time convenient for you. They will share key information with you so you have a better understanding of the application process.

We also recommend you attend one of our monthly information sessions - see dates and times for upcoming information sessions - this is run virtually and in-person. You'll get s chance to speak to social workers, meet our foster carers and ask any questions you may have. Alternatively, a member of the fostering team can visit you at home to speak to you individually.

Step 3 - Attend pre-approval training

All foster carers complete our 'Skills to Foster' pre-approval course which will equip you with essential information about fostering. You will also have the opportunity to meet other people interested in fostering, as well as some of our existing carers.

The course is usually one evening per week for a six week period, or two/three days during the weekend or weekday, whichever suits you.

Step 4 - Apply

Apply to be a foster carer by completing our fostering application form.

Step 5 - Initial checks

After we have received your application, we need to do some initial checks which involves checking our records to see if you’ve received any services from us in the past. We also undertake:

  • Interviews with people who know you best – this could be family members, ex-partners, friends
  • DBS checks for you and any adult member of your household - only certain criminal convictions could prevent you from becoming a foster carer e.g. offences against children
  • Medical checks - Don’t worry, you don’t need to be at the peak of your fitness. This is just a medical from your GP who will assess whether you are medically fit to become a foster carer

We know this stage may sound daunting, but we're here every step of the way to address any concerns you may have about the checks.

Step 6 – Family and home assessment visits

You will be assigned a social worker who will visit your home to get to know both you and your family. They will prepare a report about your family, your skills and the checks undertaken.

For extra support, we will match you with one of our current foster carers who will be able to answer your questions and use their own experience to support you through the application process.

Step 7 - Fostering panel

 At the end of the assessment, we will summarise all that we’ve learned about you in a report which will recommend the type of foster care suited to your ability and experience. It will also suggest support and training you may need when doing the role. You will have the opportunity to read and make comments on the report before this is presented at the fostering panel.

Step 8 - Approval

The exciting part! The panel will make a recommendation to the 'Agency Decision Maker' who will decide whether to approve you.

You are now a foster carer...

Once approved you will receive continued support and training throughout your time as a foster carer. You will have lots of opportunities for learning and development.

See the help and support page to find out more about the support you'll get as a foster carer.

© Wigan Council