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How to Become a Foster Carer

Information on applying to become a foster carer.

There is a 4 step process:

1. Register Your Interest

You register your interest in becoming a Foster Carer with West Lothian Council and a member of the team will be in touch within 5 working days. Please see link to the  Fostering Enquiry Form [54KB] .

The initial visit is an informal meeting to provide you with more information to help you decide whether to continue with your fostering application.

2. Attend a Preparation Group

You are invited to attend a Preparation Group - All prospective foster carers are required to attend training to prepare themselves and their household for a career in fostering with West Lothian Council. You will cover the following topics:

  • What do Foster Carers do?
  • Who are the Children and Young People?
  • Working together
  • Safer Caring
  • Understanding Behaviour
  • Moving on

You decide if you want to formally apply to become a carer. Following your preparation group you will be given an application form to complete if you wish to complete your fostering journey.

3. Formally Apply

Your worker will look at your relevant skills, knowledge and experiences.  We call these competencies.  We assess your competencies by gathering information about you from a wide range of sources (checks and references) and from the evidence you give yourself about your skills.  This process is called the home study.

  • Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) police disclosure check
  • Full medical
  • Local authority checks
  • Personal references
  • Employment history
  • Employment reference
  • Previous partners and older and adult children

We aim to complete the home study process within six months.

Your assessing social worker writes a report outlining your skills, training needs and areas of vulnerability. You will contribute to this report. A recommendation is made about what kind of fostering your should be approved for and the age and number of children you could care for.

4. Fostering Panel and Approval Decision

Once all the information has been gathered the report is submitted to a Fostering Panel who recommend whether the applicant is suitable to foster. You are expected to attend.

Approval decision

If you are approved you will receive more information and training opportunities.

  • A child/young person will be placed with you.
  • Your approval is reviewed annually, or when there is significant change in your circumstances.

If you are not approved, discuss the reasons with your social worker. Sometimes it may be possible to re-apply in the future. You can appeal against the decision, and your social worker will ensure that you are given information on the appeal procedures.