Renfrewshire Council

Steps to becoming a foster carer

What the stages of the fostering process achieves, initial and formal stages, what happens during an initial home visit, preparation groups, home study assessments, what the fostering panel does.

What the stages of the fostering process achieves

The fostering process is about finding safe, reliable and loving people to care for Renfrewshire's children.

Each stage of the process acts as an evaluation for both you and the Fostering Team. Social workers will be assessing your potential as a foster carer; making sure you have the motivation, skills and abilities the children need.

Likewise, as you progress through each stage, you have the opportunity to decide if fostering is the right choice for you and your family.

You will be working with different members of the Fostering and Adoption Team during the informal stages of the process. If you progress to the home study assessment, you will be assigned your own supervising social worker (who will also be your supervising social worker if you become an approved foster carer).

Initial stages

  • Give us a call
  • Initial home visit
  • Preparation groups

Formal stages

  • Home study assessments
  • Panel approval and registration

As we have the best interests of the children at heart, the approval process can take up to 12 months from completion of preparation groups to final approval. This allows a comprehensive assessment to be carried out, ensuring applicants have the right motives, qualities and skills to foster. Many candidates still stay in their job right through this process until they are officially registered as foster carers.

What happens during an initial home visit

You will have the opportunity ask questions while a social worker from our team has a chat with you about your circumstances and your motivation to foster in your home.

If both you and the social worker are happy to continue, you will be invited to attend the next available Preparation Group and continue the process of becoming a foster carer for Renfrewshire Council.

What Preparation Groups are

Preparation Groups are made up of six introductory modules that cover the learning that all new foster carers will require.

Our preparation groups are designed to give a comprehensive understanding of the roles and responsibilities of foster carers. Each module will focus on a topic that will shape the nature of fostering, from 'reasons why children are accommodated' to more intense topics such as 'child protection'. You will have the opportunity to hear first hand experiences from our own carers, young adults who have been in care and various members of our social work teams.

A member of the fostering team will arrange a home visit to give you feedback on your participation at the end of the preparation groups. If you and the social worker are still happy to continue your application to become a foster carer, you will be given a formal application to complete. 

Group attendance at all of the preparation groups is mandatory to move to the next stage.

What a Home Study Assessment is

Once your application has been received by the Fostering and Adoption Team, you will be allocated a supervising social worker who will complete a Home Study Assessment.

This is a very thorough assessment that looks at each individual applying to become a foster carer and can take between 6-9 months to complete. The assessment goes into detail about your overall background, family history and relationships, living situation and the type of placement you are looking to offer.

Once the assessment has been completed and it has been agreed that you are suitable to become a foster carer, it will be presented to the Fostering Panel for final review, recommendations and approval.

What the Fostering Panel does

The Fostering Panel is made up of a group of professionals who will assess your Home Study Assessment and may ask you further questions relating to your answers. The panel is comprised of councillors, a medical adviser, a legal adviser, experienced foster carers, representatives from education, lay members and a social work manager. 

Your supervising social worker will have made a recommendation to the panel as to your suitability to become a foster carer. Agreement regarding age, gender and number of children is made at this stage. 

The recommendations will then go to the Agency Decision Maker, where the final decision will be made and an official letter of confirmation sent out within 14 days if approval is agreed.