How do I apply?

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 - Make an enquiry

Great news! You’ve already made the first step by visiting our web page. You can check out our help and support page to find out more about Wigan's fostering offer.

If you’re ready to take the next step and speak to our friendly team, you can fill in our online form or call us on 01942 487200. No question is too big or too small.

We also hold regular information sessions - see dates and times for upcoming information sessions. It's your chance to speak with a fostering social worker face to face and ask them your questions. Alternatively, a member of the fostering team can visit you at home to speak to you individually.

Step 2 - Fill in the application form

After you have expressed an interest, you will receive an information pack and application form. Complete the form and send it back to us.

If you have strong experience that is relevant to becoming a foster carer, we can use a fast track process to assess you more quickly.

Step 3 - 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 of people who can comment on your ability to bring up children
  • 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. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be at the peak of your fitness.

If you have any queries or concerns about this stage please do let us know.

Step 4 - Attend a 'Skills to foster' training course

You will then need to attend a formal pre-approval training course where you’ll have the chance to explore the implications of fostering for both yourself and your family, and take part in activities and group discussions. You’ll also be given a work book to help you. ;As part of your pre-approval training and assessment you will have the opportunity to meet some of our existing carers and young people who are involved in delivering training.

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 5 - Assessment

The assessment process usually takes around 16 weeks. You will be given a social worker who will visit your home on several occasions to get to know both you and your family. They’ll work with you to complete your fostering assessment and look at the ways you live your life, including your own upbringing, routines, relationships, parenting skills and support network.

We will match you with one of our approved foster carers who can answer questions and support you with the process.

Step 6 - Fostering panel

The most exciting part! This is when we approve you as a foster carer. 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, although your social worker will have discussed this throughout your visits.

You are now a foster carer...

Once approved you will receive continued support and training throughout your fostering career. 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