Becoming a foster carer

Above all, we make fostering simple and rewarding, we also provide support and training that is second to none. Providing care for a child is one of the most uniquely rewarding opportunities life can offer.
Foster carers need to have the ability to care for and and nurture a child. This is what really matters. Becoming a foster carer is not difficult - especially with Rainbow. There are six simple stages and the process usually takes between four to six months.


Stage 1 - Initial Enquiry

When you call Rainbow one of our recruitment advisors will have a friendly chat with you. They are highly experienced and will help you, as well as us, establish if fostering will be the right career for you. There is no obligation and we certainly don’t apply pressure. You might need more time to think to think following the conversation. And that is perfectly okay!

We will simply take a few details about you, your past and current living circumstances. This is just to check that you meet the basic criteria to become a foster carer.




Stage 2 - initial home visit (IHV)

If, after talking with our advisor and reflecting on the information you were given, you may decide you want to learn more about fostering. We will then arrange for our advisor to meet you in your home. This is our opportunity to go into a more detail about what fostering involves. Our advisors are skilled at putting people at their ease, so it will be a relaxed conversation. We want to make sure that you are sincere and have an interest in the well being of vulnerable children.

The visit gives you the chance to ask further questions. Again, there is no pressure or obligation on you to make an instant decision. Our adviser will also make a check to see that your home offers a welcoming, safe and secure environment. We will need to confirm that you are able to provide a room for the exclusive use of a child where they will have adequate storage space. It will need to be clean, warm and be somewhere they can do schoolwork.

Some people drop out at this stage and that’s fine. Our goal is to find people who will be able to face the challenges of fostering. During the visit we will take a note of your preferences and go into some detail regarding the kinds of children and young people that we need to find foster homes for. It is also our chance to tell you how foster carers can make a real difference to the children and young people they look after. Whatever questions you may have, we will be more than happy to provide answers.

Stage 3 - Completion of Application Form

Our advisor will have left an application form with you after explaining its requirements. If you have decided to proceed, and we are in agreement, the form must be completed and returned. And if you need any further help completing the form, simply get in touch - we are happy to help. When this is returned, we move to the next stage, which involves conducting your background checks.

Stage 4 - background checks

Our We, like all agencies, are obliged to carry out a number of background checks which form part of your assessment. This will include checks from the Criminal Records Bureau (DBS Check), Social Services as well as medical checks and a home risk assessment

We will also take up references both personal and from an employer. If you have your own children, we shall also request information from their school(s). One of our fostering advisors will oversee your assessment and will keep you updated at every stage. The time taken to collect references can vary.

Stage 5 - ‘Skills to Foster’

Once we have started running your background checks, you will be invited to attend our two day “Skills to Foster” Course. This is a standard course developed by The Fostering Network the leading fostering charity. We engage highly experienced professionals to deliver the course. Its purpose is to offer insights into every aspect of fostering. You will be given an understanding of what it is to be a professional foster carer. The course is conducted in a friendly, relaxed environment. There is no exam; the feedback we receive is that people find it stimulating, enjoyable and thought provoking. By the end of the course you will have met with other applicants, trainers and foster carers. At the end of the course, you will know if fostering is for you! .

Stage 6 - Form F and Panel

‘Form F’ this comprehensive form is devised by BAAF (British Agency for Adoption and Fostering).It is used to determine an applicant’s suitability to foster. You will be assigned your own social worker to support you through completing this stage. The form is very detailed and needs to be since the safety and well being of children depends upon a thorough selection process. Part of the ‘Form F’ involves you - with our help - in putting together a personal ‘Portfolio’. Applicants often find this enjoyable as it is their chance to record any experience, interests and skills that are relevant to their ambition to be a foster carer. Your ‘Portfolio’ is a key part of the assessment process as it will be presented to a specialist fostering panel, which marks the final stage in the assessment process. The Panel will then make a recommendation based on your ‘Portfolio’ and the meeting itself.Although the Panel is independent, the final decision will be made by the Agency Decision Maker (ADM) at Rainbow Fostering having taken on board the judgements of the Panel. You will be informed if you have been successful the same day.

Call now 0330 311 2845 or 020 8427 3355