As you would expect, we must ensure that children and young people in care are safe and well looked after so the approval process is thorough and important but it can take as little as a few weeks, depending on the individual.

While government legislation dictates that Foster Carer Approval MUST NOT take more than 8 months, the Next Step Fostering Group endeavours to approve potential foster carers much quicker than this industry standard (averaging 3-6 months) so Next Step Fostering Group carers can be matched and looking after their first child much sooner than many competitors.

However, depending on the applicant and their reaction time to information requests, the approval process can be completed even faster – there is no reason why you could not become an approved Foster Carer in a matter of weeks. So give us a call on 0845 6038354 or Contact Us to start your application today.

We will then ask one of our experienced Social Workers to give you call.
After an initial telephone conversation, to ensure that you meet our basic recruitment womanandbaby_support
criteria we will come to visit you in your home – to share more information about what fostering involves and to help us determine if fostering is right for you.

We will undertake an assessment with you and your family, over several Social Worker visits, to determine your suitability to foster. The information obtained forms the basis of an assessment report. If you are applying with a partner you will both be assessed). Even if you are the main carer, anyone sharing your home will have some involvement in the fostering task so we will need to carry out a range of checks on anyone in the household over the age of 18 (including Social Services and enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks).

Foster children come from all walks of life and if your background matches a potential foster child you could be their ideal carer. So please always discuss your situation and background with us rather than ruling yourself out unnecessarily.

You will be asked to undertake a medical, completed by your GP which must be made available to the Agency Medical Adviser as part of the approvals process. But as with all information provided, this remains confidential. You will also need to identify three referees who will be asked to provide written references and be interviewed as part of your assessment process.

You will be invited to attend our two/three day Skills to Foster course. If, at any point during this stage, our Agency Decision Maker decides that you are not suitable to foster we will write to you giving full reasons.

The final step to becoming a foster carer is to attend a Fostering Assessment Panel where you and your assessment will be presented.
The panel will make a recommendation upon which the Agency Decision Maker will make a final decision and aim to inform you on the same

Useful links:

Stages within the assessment process are governed by Regulation. These useful links will help you learn more about this if you wish:

Learn More

Independent Review

Although the application process is rigorous, we will support you every step of the way.


Who can foster

Next Step aims to provide a specific range of services to each and every child who is referred to us. Our matching process ensures that we consider all aspects of a child’s needs vigorously, so that we provide the right level of service.

Find out if you can foster