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Starting your story


We're so pleased that you are considering becoming a foster carer. As a foster carer you can make a huge and positive contribution to the life of a young person. Finding out more about fostering is your first step in this journey. Read on to find out more about the steps towards becoming a foster carer.

What to expect

Many children in need of foster care have experienced difficult early lives. This can affect their behaviour and development. Foster carers need to offer lots of love and patience to help a child settle into a new home. Most children benefit from a warm and loving family. Foster families can help them progress all aspects of their development.

Where do foster carers fit in?

The building blocks for a positive future for a child in care come from everyday life. There are many reasons why a child or young person can't be with their birth family. You can help them stay in their community, their school and close to their family and friends. We need more foster carers to make this happen.

How long does it take?

The full application process usually takes between six to nine months. This can depend on factors such as your availability to meet your social worker. The assessment needs to be thorough to ensure that we approve carers who can meet the needs of our children. We're in this together. Our team of specialist staff will be more than happy to support you and answer your questions along the way.

We would love to hear from you, get in touch with us today by phone, email or via our enquiry page.

Call us on 0191 433 8333


What happens next

This is the typical journey you can expect once you make an initial enquiry about fostering.

Gateshead Council is part of a new collaborative partnership with the 11 other local authorities in the North East of England to collectively recruit much needed foster carers. For the first time, anyone considering a career in fostering in our region will now benefit from a united, single support hub, Foster with North East which is backed by the Department for Education.  

Step 1: Initial telephone call

Once you have made an initial enquiry the Foster with North East team will contact you to arrange an initial talk to explain the application process. If it is the right time for you to go ahead the team will complete an expression of interest form with you. They will then get in touch with Gateshead Fostering Team to arrange an initial visit with you.

If you're not ready to go ahead why not come to one of our fostering information evenings held monthly. We offer both in person and online events. There's no obligation to attend but it's a great way to help you decide if fostering could be for you.

Step 2: Home visit

One of our social workers from Gateshead Fostering Team will visit you at home to find out more about you. This is an opportunity for you to ask any questions or to discuss any concerns you may have. We'll discuss the training and assessment processes and decide if fostering is right for you. If you're going ahead, we'll arrange your preparation training.

Step 3: Preparation training

You'll attend a two-day preparation training course. This will help you to understand more about the needs of young people. We'll also start a background check with the police and reference checks which we're required to do by law.

Step 4: Your assessment

Your assessment will begin. A social worker will work with you to prepare a report for the fostering panel. There will be eight to ten more home visits that may take up to two hours each. Visits also include meetings with others who live in your home. Throughout the assessment your social worker will be open and honest with you. You will know their recommendation before it goes to the fostering panel.

Step 5: Fostering panel

Once completed, we discuss your assessment at the Fostering Panel. This comprises of people who have a personal or professional connection with fostering. They will make a recommendation on your suitability as a foster carer.

Step 6: Final decision

The agency decision maker confirms final approval from the recommendation of the fostering panel. If successful, following this you will be matched with a Supervising Social Worker.

Step 7: Congratulations

Your supervising social worker begins working with you to match a child or children. We welcome you into our family of foster carers - your story starts here!

Your story starts here

The first step to becoming a Foster Carer in Gateshead is to fill out our fostering enquiry form. A member of the fostering team will then contact you to gather some further details.

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