What is Fostering? - What is Foster Care?

Fostering is a way of providing a stable family life for children and young people, who are unable to live with their parents at a point in time. This allows children the chance to thrive in a safe, secure, loving and caring home environment with foster carers.


What is Fostering? or What is Foster Care? or How to become a Foster Carer?

Fostering is a way of providing a stable family life for children and young people, who are unable to live with their parents at a point in time. This allows children the chance to thrive in a safe, secure, loving and caring home environment with foster carers. The children and young people placed with foster carers are from a diverse range of backgrounds and will display different behaviour depending upon their various experiences.

All children and young people are different, making it difficult to define a “typical child”. However, what you can expect is that, as with any child or young person, they need security, stability and the chance to develop and thrive with carers who understand what is fostering and have empathy for the child’s situation.

What’s involved in fostering ? What is Fostering ?

Foster carers

Fostering differs from adoption, in that an adoption order ends a child’s legal relationship with their natural family, whereas looked after children remain the legal responsibility of the local authority and/or their birth parents.


Foster carers placements can last for days, months or even years. Many children return home to their families but others may receive long-term support; either through continued fostering, adoption, residential care or by being helped to live independently.


Sunbeam strives to find fostering solutions for the many young people in care. For this reason, Sunbeam provides various types of foster care and training to teach carers all about what is fostering.


Sunbeam specialises in offering different types of placements and fostering solutions.


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What is Fostering Children

To become a foster carer or for further information on what is fostering, please contact us today and we are happy to provide you with the information and support you need.


Learn more about fostering children with Sunbeam.

Can I Become a Foster Carer?

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

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.

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 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.

What is Fostering What is Foster Care

Sunbeam Fostering Agency has local offices around the country, and we continue to develop and maintain close, personal relationships with our carers and the local communities we support. We do our very best to make sure that every fostering experience inspires confidence and creates wonderful opportunities for the fostering a child and the fostering families.

We know that care is a community effort. That’s why we build excellent relationships with local authorities and the wider communities we serve. Together, we strive to meet the needs of foster carers and fostering a child, whatever the challenges these young people have faced in life so far.

Support is what keeps fostering working, and we’re dedicated to encouraging our amazing foster carers to grow with us. We support them totally so they can make real differences to a child’s life. Our unrivalled support and training is shaped by our carers and tailored to meet the needs of the children.

We are delighted that so many other dedicated individuals, couples and families have joined us throughout the years to make Sunbeam Fostering the outstanding agency, is today.

Steps of Becoming a Foster Carer

1. Call us, complete an online enquiry form or arrange a call back


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.

2. Initial Home Visit


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.

3. Complete the application form


Once this is completed formal assessment will begin.

4. Fostering Assessment


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

5. Invitation to preparation training


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.

6. Panel


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.

7. Approved


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 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.

Reasons be a foster carer with Sunbeam

Rated Outstanding by Ofsted (London office)

Extensive information will be provided to you to assist your transfer

We have a strong focus on quality and better outcomes for children

Our organisation has been in operation for 15 years and we have developed an excellent reputation

We have strong Local Authority relationships

Our fostering allowances are competitive

You will have 24 hour access to staff and support for 365 days per year

We will develop a career path for you to develop new fostering skills

Promotion of equal opportunities for all

Comprehensive insurance will be provided for you to cover any wilful damage by foster children

Excellent training including online access

What is Fostering What is Foster Care

At Sunbeam we are proud of our standards and the support and training that we provide to our foster carers. We would welcome you to take the opportunity to speak to one of our existing foster carers to hear this first hand.

We have a good record in maintaining placements and this is due to excellent matching process at the placement stage and also that we seek to address any concerns quickly.

Many Local Authorities now have Framework Agreements (determined by a tendering process) and often Sunbeam will be in the top tier of these contracts to ensure that we receive strong referrals levels for placements.


About Sunbeam Fostering Agency

Sunbeam Fostering is one of the UK's leading and most progressive Fostering Agency with an established reputation for high standards and outstanding support to our foster carers. Get in touch with us to know more.


Member of The Fostering Network Member of NAFP         

Our Locations

LANGLEY (London & South - Registered)

Sunbeam House, 12 Waterside Drive, Langley, Slough, SL3 6EZ, UK

020 8799 0930

MIDLANDS (Registered Office)

383 Broad Lane Coventry West Midlands CV5 7AX, UK

024 7642 0390

SOUTH (Resource centre)

South Central, Atlantic House, Imperial Way, Reading, RG2 0TD, UK

011 8903 6043

NOTTINGHAM (Resource centre)

Melrose House, 9 Waverly Street, Nottingham, NG7 4HF, UK

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