Your Fostering Journey

TACT need new foster families more than ever. The entire process of becoming a foster carer can be completed virtually, from the comfort of your own home. We are open and ready to take your call or respond to your request for information.

TACT understand what a huge decision it is to become a foster carer for you and your family, so we will be there to support you throughout whenever you may have any questions or concerns.

How long does it take to become a foster carer?

The question ‘how long does it take to become a foster carer’ is one that we’re regularly asked. There are a number of variables to take into consideration, so we usually say that the whole process takes approximately 6 months. If you are an existing foster carer looking to transfer to us, the process can be fast-tracked. Read more on our How To Transfer Fostering Agency page.

As you can imagine, anyone providing care for such vulnerable young people within their own home would need to be properly and thoroughly assessed, so the process of become a foster carer involves a number of checks, references and ultimately a detailed assessment called a ‘Form F’. There is also introductory training called ‘Skills To Foster’ that takes place within the assessment time frame.

The assessment period also provides you with the time, insight and knowledge to fully assess whether fostering is the right path for you and your household. We are a charity, so we place no pressure on anyone to continue with a fostering assessment.

Each stage of the journey is described in more detail below. Click the links to skip ahead:

Navigate to our Initial Enquiry section Navigate to our Home Visit section Navigate to our Introductory Training section Navigate to our Application & Assessment section Navigate to our Approval section Navigate to our Your First Placement section

Initial Enquiry 

We know that making the first contact to say you are considering fostering can be a really big step, but there’s nothing to worry about.

The initial enquiry is an opportunity for you to find out more about fostering and the application process, to help decide if it is something that you want to pursue.

At this stage you are not making any commitment, you will simply have an informal chat with our friendly enquiries team, ask any questions that you have and answer a few basic questions about yourself and your motivation to become a foster carer.

To begin your initial enquiry, you can either call 0330 123 2250 or request for us to call you back at a time that suits you. If you’re not yet ready to speak to someone about fostering, you can always request an information pack or look at our frequently asked questions.

The video below shows TACT staff and foster carers discussing what the initial enquiry involves:

Home Visit 

The next step is for one of our supervising social workers to visit you at your home. The visit will involve a more detailed discussion about your circumstances, your family, any experience that is relevant to fostering and your motivations to become a foster carer.

The home visit is a finding out session for everyone, the social worker will ask you about your understanding of fostering and the needs of looked after children and you will have the opportunity to ask further questions that you may have about the process and the effect that fostering might have on your lives.

If you are married or live with a partner, you both need to be equally committed to fostering. Your partner will need to be present at the home visit as they are classed as a secondary carer and will need to be involved the assessment process from this point onwards.

TACT Carers describe their experiences of the initial home visit in the video below:

Introductory Training

As a TACT foster carer you will have access to an extensive training package, starting with the Skills to Foster course. This two day introductory training course is designed to give you an insight into life as a foster carer. It is delivered remotely, and you can choose the dates that suit you.

The course will give you more detail about your role as a foster carer, the expectations of you and your family and some of the other people that you will be required to work with, such as the child’s family, their social worker and other professionals.

The course will be insightful and sometimes emotional as you explore some of the reasons that children come into care, the experiences that they may have had and your role in helping to manage their behaviour and development.

You will also meet some of TACT’s existing Foster Carers, who will share their experience of the application process, getting their first placement and the support that they receive from TACT as well as answering your questions.

Watch the video below to see some of our carers talking about their experiences of Skills to Foster:

Application & Assessment 

Now you are ready to start the formal process of applying to become a foster carer. After completing your application form you will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker who will work with you to complete a detailed assessment of your suitability to become a foster carer – this is called a Form F assessment.

The assessment involves a number of checks including medical, financial, DBS (in England and Wales) or PVG (in Scotland) and references (both employer and personal). And because fostering involves the whole family, checks will also be carried out on other members of the household. As part of the assessment process, we will also need to make contact with other significant adults in your life, this will include ex-partners and adult children – your Social Worker will explain in more detail what the checks entails and who needs to be involved.

Alongside the checks you will have regular meetings with your Social Worker where you will have detailed discussions on a range of subjects relevant to your suitability to become a foster carer.

Watch the video below to see TACT carers discussing their experiences of the assessment process:


The final stage of the application process is the panel review. Our fostering panel consists of a group of experienced, independent care professionals who will review your assessment and make a recommendation to the agency decision maker in TACT about your suitability as a foster carer. All of the information gathered during your assessment will be compiled into a single report which will be presented to the fostering panel.

Carers often tell us that they get anxious at this stage, but there is really no need to worry. You will meet with your social worker on a regular basis throughout your assessment and they will raise any concerns that they have well in advance of you going to panel.

Your First Placement 

Your journey doesn’t end with approval – it’s just the start! As soon as you are approved we will begin the process of matching you to your first placement and will continue to support you through every step of your fostering career.