Fostering Frequantly Asked Questions

We have put together some of the frequent questions that people want to know when they beginning their fostering journey. We hope this gives a better insight to the fostering experience and how we provide support 24/7 365 days of the year.

What is fostering?

Fostering is where you bring a child or young person into your home who is not biologically yours and you care for them and provide them with a stable family home life as they are unable to live with their birth family at this point in time. This provides children with the chance to be able to thrive and feel comfortable in a loving, caring safe environment.

I am interested in fostering, where do I start?

Have you been thinking about fostering, but not too sure about the process or where to begin? It can seem a very daunting process, but at Sunbeam we have many helpful knowledgeable staff who will be more than happy to guide you through the whole process. To start your fostering journey, you can enquire online through our call back requested. This is where you can leave your name and your number and a member of our fostering team will contact you back. We also have a live online chat on our website, you will be able to have an instant conversation with one of our recruitment team members. This will provide you with the chance to ask any questions you may have. In addition to this, you can also contact us on 020 8799 0930 / info@sunbeamfostering.com

What is the process to become an approved foster carer?

To begin your fostering journey, make contact. This is the initial step, a member of our recruitment team will set up a friendly telephone screening that can be made over the phone or online. This is just so we can get to know a bit about you, and you can ask all your fostering questions and get to know more about Sunbeam.

Once the initial enquiry has been made, applicants will have a phone screening, this is where applicants will have a friendly chat with a member of our recruitment team. Our recruitment team will want to get to know a bit more about you, for example, which area you live in, how many spare bedrooms you have. Once this is complete, if the application is positive a home visit will be scheduled. This is where a member of our team will come and visit your house to see your house layout, the available spare bedroom and meet you and get to know more about you and your family. Shortly after the home visit, you will need to begin to fill out and complete the application form.

The next step will be your fostering assessment, this is also known as a Form F. Essentially this assessment involves a review of your suitability to provide foster care. As an applicant you will receive full support through each stage of the assessment. For this stage applicants will be required to provide references, both personal and employment. Also, a medical check with your GP will be required. Some other checks which will be required is, Local Authority checks, schools and possible other agencies.

To continue, the next stage will be the preparation stage for panel. This is where all applicants will undertake a three-day training course, this is known as Skills to Foster training. This will also provide you with the opportunity to meet other people and talk about your experiences.

Once the training has been completed you will be asked to attend panel with the social worker who completed your assessment with you. Your report will be submitted to the panel for approval recommendations. 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.

How does the matching process work?

When you become an approved Foster Carer, our placements team will be in contact with you for an introduction call and to welcome you to Sunbeam. This is for you to know the team and understand the process when it comes to matching you with children.

When the team considers you for a placement, they will have an in-depth overview of the referral and work closely with your supervising social worker to decide if the referral is suitable. Our team will contact you and discuss the child/young person’s background covering key areas such as their health needs and any school or contact runs. After discussion, our team will securely send a copy of the referral to you for you to read through and raise any questions or queries you may have. Once all involved are in agreement, the team will liaise with the Local authority to propose the carers formally. The Local authority will then review information received and make an informed decision.

When our placements team considers you for a referral, you have the chance to read through the child’s information and background. If you don’t think that child is suitable for you and your family, or that you don’t have the skills or background to manage that child, then you have first right of refusal. Please don’t feel pressured to accept the first referral as we want to make sure the placement is successful.

What training and support will I receive?

At Sunbeam we offer all our foster carers 24/7 support 365 days of the year. This is because we want our foster carers to feel supported throughout any time of the day or night.

In addition to this, we also offer free training for our carers throughout different points in the year, this includes; onsite training and one to one training. All our trainings are always local in the area to ensure that it suites our carers.

Furthermore, we also hold support groups for foster carers, foster children and young persons and birth children. Having support groups for foster carers provides the chance to meet other foster carers, and share experiences and situations they may have been in before and how the dealt with the situation. This is a great opportunity for new approved foster carers to meet more experienced foster cares.

As a foster carer you will also receive your own dedicated social worker. They will keep in touch with you, your family and the placement in your care on a regular basis. Visits will be taken place on a monthly basis with regular telephone calls. Social workers will support you throughout your entire fostering journey, from keeping careful records of the child’s progress who is in your care to supporting you dealing with birth parents and local authorities.


If you would like to know more, you can contact us on 020 8799 0930 to speak to a member of our team. You can also email us at info@sunbeamfostering.com.