Fostering children is a great service to brighten their future. Fostering is defined as taking temporary parental responsibility for a child outside of your own family. This is usually a child that has been placed into the care of the local authority who will then seek to settle the child into a family home environment. Becoming a foster carer with Sunbeam will be a life changing and pleasant journey for you and the children you are going to foster.

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Fostering with Sunbeam

We’re here to make becoming a foster carer as easy as possible and will provide you with all the advice and guidance you need to help you start your fostering journey.

We know that to achieve a healthy society our focus needs to be on children who need to be supported to build, achieve and succeed. This is a shared focus and we are here to support our foster carers in achieving this.

We will start with your fostering enquiry by allocating you a qualified staff member to assess your situation and if fostering is the right choice for you. He/she will conduct a home visit as soon as possible and proceed with your application to the next stage. The whole assessment process will take around 12 weeks depending on your individual circumstances and completion of statury checks. We will be in regular contact with you to offer updates about your assessment process. You will be offered preparatory skills to foster training (2-3 days) during the course of your assessment and this will provide you with the opportunity to meet other applicants and discuss and learn more about fostering in a group setting.

If you have any questions about fostering, simply click here and get in touch.

Who can become a Foster Carer?

We need foster carers from a wide range of backgrounds, races and religion. This is because all children have their own unique and individual background and heritage. You do not need to be married, own a house or have children of your own.

We aim to ensure that each child’s needs are met and matched as closely as possible, we use the following selection criteria:

  • Previous employment or experience in children’s services – paid or unpaid.
  • Applicants with particular skills and experience in specific areas as learning difficulties, medical problems etc.
  • Applicants who show a willingness to work towards meeting care standards for fostering.
  • Applicants with experience of the previous fostering and/or close involvement with someone who has already fostered.
  • An ability to reflect on life experiences and to mature through them.
  • An ability to see beyond children’s behaviour, and to link it to past trauma, where applicable
  • An empathy for and natural ability to nurture children traumatised by separation from their birth families.
  • Applicants able to accept teenagers
  • Applicants comfortable with parents visiting their home.
  • If living with a partner/ spouse, the relationship should be established and secure.

The training you will receive will include:

  • Safer Caring Including Preventing Allegations against the carers and adopters
  • Promoting Positive Behaviour
  • Attachment, Loss and Separation
  • Understanding Difference and Diversity
  • First Aid
  • Working with children and Young People with Mental Health Issues, Special Needs including ADHD & Autism
  • Working with children and Young People who have been abused
  • Self-Harming and Sexualised Behaviour
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • Educational Needs of Children and Young People
  • Drugs and Alcohol Issues & Gang Culture
  • Core Sexual Health

Excellent care standard and support across the group. Our latest Ofsted report for London + South rated ‘Good’. Midlands rated ‘Good’ and Sunbeam Pride is ‘Good’ with no recommendation and improvement. We offered 1,000s placements and over 500 new placements made in the last 3 years. All our foster carers have 24-hour access to staff and support which is not just a promise but delivered 365 days per year. We offer a career path into social work and further national qualifications of fostering. Currently, we offer over 100 different trainings to our foster carers. Extensive information will be provided on fostering to help your approval process. Our strong focus on quality and better outcomes for children. Full support will be provided to you including a comprehensive induction to fostering once approved. Sunbeam Pride is sister registered agency in Luton and has the full support from the parent company, Sunbeam Fostering Agency, who have a proven track record. We have strong Local Authority relationships and secure many contracts to secure placements for you.

Read More

Download – Guide to Fostering a child

We would welcome the opportunity to help you learn more about fostering a child and joining our agency.

Please, therefore, find a full guide to Becoming a Foster Carer below. Please click on the link below to download a copy.If you should like any additional information on the assessment process and what is involved, please let us know.Our recruitment team is also on hand to answer any questions you may have and we look forward to hearing from you.


Steps to become a foster carer

The process of becoming a foster carer is summarised below. Click each step for information to be displayed below. You will receive full support at all stages and help with anything you are unsure of.


Call us or complete an online enquiry form 

Sunbeam will contact you for an initial discussion and arrange for an enquiry form to be completed over the phone or online. If the enquiry is positive a worker will call you to book an appointment to come out and see you if you wish to proceed further with your enquiry.

A worker from Sunbeam will visit to discuss fostering with you further, to gather some background information about you and your family and to check you have appropriate bedroom space in your home and discuss any other Health & Safety related issues. At this point, you will be asked to provide photocopies of ID and some other documents and to sign a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check consent form. If the visit is positive application form can be completed following the home visit or alternatively this can be completed later and send to us by post.

Once this is completed and your application is accepted, a formal assessment will begin.

The assessment process sometimes called a ‘home study’ or ‘Form F’ essentially involves a review of your suitability to provide foster care. This will be undertaken by a skilled member of our staff and you will receive full support at all stages. As part of the process, you will be required to:

1. Provide references – both personal and employment

2. Undertake a medical check with your GP (paid for by us)

3. Consent to other checks with Local Authorities, schools or other agencies


You will receive specific training through a three day training course to prepare you to foster and to achieve “Skills to Foster”. Attending courses will also allow you to meet other carers, share experiences and learn more about foster care. For carers wishing to look after disabled or challenging children, additional training will be provided at this stage.

Following completion of your training and fostering assessment, the report will be submitted to an Independent Panel for approval recommendations to be made in terms of the numbers and ages of children that can be placed with you. You will be asked to attend the Panel with the social worker who completed your assessment.

The Agency decision maker will have the final decision regarding your approval. Once approved you will then be a registered carer with Sunbeam Fostering Agency, and be able to take “looked after children” and young people into your home and care for them. You will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker to help and support you.

The path to becoming a Foster Carer requires a commitment to the assessment process and our current foster carers would be happy to share their experiences of the assessment process.

To become a foster carer contact us today.

Words From Foster Carers

“Fostering is a rewarding experience as it allows you to actually make a difference for a child/young person. I feel happy being able to make such a difference whether it is for one day or several years.”



“We have been fostering for the last 8 years and feel proud to be a part of the Sunbeam family. At the beginning, we thought it’s a tough job, but at the end, it gave us both a broad insight into both the tough and rewarding side of fostering”

We offer


An opportunity to make a positive difference to children’s life.


Commitment to excellence


Up to £ 650 allowance per child per week.

24/7 Support

24 hours support / 7 days a week / 365 days a year


Excellent ongoing training programmes.


A chance to build a career in fostering


About becoming a foster parent

Do I need to be married to become a foster parent?

No. You can be married, single, divorced or living together. The main thing that you need is to be able to provide a safe and supportive environment for your foster child.

I work, am I still able to become a foster parent?
Yes, you would be able to work part-time if you are a single foster parent to ensure that you are able to fulfil your commitments, you would need to make sure that your working arrangement is flexible so that you can tend to any emergencies that would arise with a foster child if needed.

If you are a couple who have decided to become foster parents you would need to make sure that one of you is available at all times. This could be making sure that working hours don’t clash or maybe that one parent works while the other is home based to care for the foster child or children.

I am renting, am I still able to foster?

Yes, it does not matter if you are renting or own your home, this will not affect your application to become a foster carer. As long as you have a spare room in your home dedicated to accommodating foster children owner status is not a problem.

I have tenants / lodgers. Can I foster?

You can still consider a career in foster care. However, you will not be able to continue to have a tenant or lodger in the property. Foster carers receive the fostering allowance if they have a child or young person in placement. Please see ‘Fostering allowance’ for further information.

Will my race or religion be an issue?
No, diversity is very important as the foster children come from a variety of backgrounds. People of all races and faiths are needed to foster children.
Do I need any qualifications?
There are no special qualifications needed to become a foster carer, as any parent will tell you, children do not come with a manual. What you do need is a positive attitude, patience and understanding along with time and plenty of energy to devote to your foster children. This is a job like no other and the most important qualifications you can hold are people skills and empathy. A love of children is, of course, essential and the ability not to take things personally.
I’m old! I want to foster, how do I apply?
Once you have decided to become a foster parent, the first step would be to contact your local authority or the fostering agency you will have an initial chat with the application manager who will run through the process and answer any questions and address any concerns that you may have. The next stage would be for an assessor to visit you at home and get to know a little bit about you and find out more about your reasons for wanting to foster, they will also assess the suitability of your home. You will be given the opportunity to ask any questions and to address anything that you are unsure about.

After this visit with you still wanting to go ahead and become a foster parent, you will be asked to fill in the official paperwork and this is where the serious application process begins.

What Can I expect once I have applied to become a foster parent?
Once you have submitted your application form and this has been accepted a Form F assessment will be completed on the fostering household. Paying particular attention to the skills, experience and knowledge of the applicants who want to become foster carers. Once this is completed, the Form F assessment is presented at the panel who will recommend the applicants’ suitability to foster to the Agency Decision Maker, who makes the final decision. Please see our guide to foster for more information.
How long does this take?
We do our best to process all applications as quickly as possible, usually in six months but more often between three to four months.
If I am approved, what happens next?
Once you are approved, you will be added to the list of available foster carers that the placement team will use to match and place a child in your care. Once a suitable child is matched with yourself, you will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker who will undertake an induction to ensure you have a thorough understanding of the fostering task in preparation for your first placement.
Will I receive any training?
Yes, once you have been approved as a foster carer you will receive initial training and you will be given regular training sessions throughout the year. These will be a mix of new subjects and refresher courses. You will also be given the opportunity to gain an NVQ 2, 3 and 4