Consistently Outstanding since 2013

Foster care background checks and references

An assessment with Fostering People takes approximately 4 – 6 months.

Here is a breakdown of each, and an overview of what is involved:

During your assessment, we’ll undertake a variety of checks and references to ensure you have the potential to provide safe and nurturing care to children.


A DBS check with the Disclosure and Barring Service in England or Protecting Vulnerable Groups in Scotland is completed for applicants and household members over the age of 18.

Local authority check

We carry out a local authority check to the local authority where you currently reside, as well as any local authority area you have lived in, in the last 10 years.

Health / Medical assessment

A medical is completed for all applicants – if applying as a couple, you both will undertake a medical assessment. You will be asked to complete an AH1 form which we will give you, you’ll then take that to your GP and arrange an appointment for a full medical. The GP sends the medical to our Agency Medical Advisor who will form an analysis of the information in relation to any health related issues which could affect your ability to foster safely for yourself or a child in your care.

Work references

We will request a reference from your current (or most recent) employer and also any others where you have worked or volunteered with children or vulnerable adults. If you are self-employed, we would usually ask for a reference from a client / customer or partner / employee.

Personal references

We will ask you to nominate 3 personal referees – 1 family and 2 non-family; normally friends who know you well. The referees are written to and once the written reference is received, this is followed up by a visit from your assessing social worker.

Ex-partner references

All significant ex-partners should be contacted where possible. By ‘significant’ we mean where the applicant has been married to, lived with and/or had children with, or where the relationship spanned a number of years. Your assessor will discuss with you what would be classed as ‘significant’ if you are unsure, so it is best just to share information about all previous partners.

Where there is good reason not to contact an ex-partner (i.e. where the relationship was abusive or contacting them may cause emotional harm to an applicant or a member of their family), then third party verification of that relationship would be sought instead and we’ll work with you to identify this.

Pet assessment

Pet assessments are completed for all pets (including fish!) A separate dog risk assessment is needed for dogs and where there are 2 dogs or more in the household, a specialist vet assessment will be requested by us. Applicants will just be asked to provide details of their vet and also any vet reports / record cards that they have for their pets.

Other checks

If your home is rented, we will require written permission to foster from your landlord. This will need to be provided very early in the assessment so please ensure that landlord details are provided on your application form.

Fostering Panel

Find out what happens at a fostering panel and who makes up our fostering panel.

Find out more

Preparing for your first child

Getting ready to care for your first foster child is very exciting, but it’s very natural to be anxious too.

Follow our tips and tricks

Frequently asked questions

If I’m going to be the main foster parent, do you need to carry out checks on my partner as well?

Yes, we need to carry out all the checks for both of you. If you have adult children living in the home we will also need to carry out some checks on them too.

Who will be assessing me?

You will be assessed by a fully qualified social worker with assessment experience. The social worker may work for Fostering People or may be an independent worker.

What training will I receive to be able to foster?

All of our applicants complete our 'Skills to foster' training, a 3 day training course during assessment. You will also undertake some training at home called 'Next Steps to fostering'. Once approved you'll receive ongoing training throughout your time with us, some of which is mandatory and other courses which are optional but designed to develop your skills. Your supervising social worker will work with you to identify the best training for you each year.

Take your first step to becoming a foster parent today

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent and would like to learn more, then we’d love to hear from you.

Simply fill in the form below and one of our friendly team will be in touch.

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Call us on 0800 077 8159

Suite D, The Point,
Welbeck Road, West Bridgford,
Nottingham, NG2 7QW