Fostering FAQs

Can I foster if....?

Every Looked after child needs a space to call their own, so we do ask that you have a spare bedroom to offer. It would not be suitable for a Looked after Child, over the age of two, to share a bedroom with anyone other than their siblings.

Fostering is a big commitment, but it does not have to mean giving up your career. There are different types of foster care, some of which will be better suited to your lifestyle. We have an expectation that Foster carers have flexibility to attend meetings and training in the interest of the child, but many of our foster carers successfully balance fostering responsibilities alongside work commitments. We support the Fostering Network’s ‘Fostering Friendly Employer Scheme’, which exists to educate employers on understanding and responding to the needs of fostering employees. If you are an employer who is interested in participating in this scheme, you can e-mail

Owning your home is not essential to becoming a foster carer. Many of our foster carers live in rented accommodation or social housing, but it is important that you can evidence stability with a long-term address. If you are privately renting, you will need your landlord’s approval before making your application.

Many looked after children benefit from being in a family environment. Your children can play a vital role in welcoming a child into your home. During the assessment process we will consider the feelings and wishes of each member of your family, to ensure that it is the right decision for everyone. Your children would become a part of a fostering family and will be invited to participate in activities and celebration events.

If you smoke, you will not be allowed to foster a child under the age of five or with a health condition or disability. We ask that you smoke outside and away from the child. If you are trying to give up smoking, we ask that you can give evidence for up to 12 months that you have given up smoking if you wish to foster a child under five or a child with a health condition or disability.

As a Foster Carer you will be asked to attend meetings, appointments, take children to and from school and contact. Due to this we will need to consider how you will be meeting these travel requirements. However, we would not discourage your application and welcome discussion around this.

If you or someone in your household holds a criminal record this will not necessarily stop you from becoming a Foster Carer. This depends on the offence and type of conviction, so please be sure to discuss this with the fostering service. We undertake a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service check) with the police for all our applicants and all criminal records and cautions will be disclosed.

What is the application process like?

Once you have contacted us, we will send you our information pack and arrange an initial home visit. We can then discuss the process in more detail and answer any questions. If you decide to proceed, you will need to complete an application form.

You will be allocated a social worker who will begin the assessment with you and your family. The assessment consists of two stages: Stage one: checks and gathering information about you and your household. Stage two: involves a number of home visits and considers your strengths and any areas for development. This part of the process can feel intrusive; but we need to ensure we get it right for children in our care. Just as importantly, we need to get it right for you and your family.

We aim to complete assessments within three to five months from the time we receive your application form. Sometimes personal circumstances like holidays or other significant events can delay the process. Delays can also be caused by the checks taking longer than expected.

You will also be invited to attend a preparation course called ‘Skills to Foster’.

Once you have completed the process and training, and all your checks are done, your assessment is presented to the Fostering Panel. The Panel consists of several people who have a variety of experience in various backgrounds. They make a recommendation regarding your suitability to foster. You are invited to attend this meeting. The Local Authority’s Agency Decision Maker will review the recommendations being made by the Social Worker and Fostering Panel and make the final decision on your approval. If you are approved, you will become a registered Foster Carer for the Isle of Wight Council.

If you think you could be a foster carer please apply by:

1. Visiting our website and emailing our team for information. We will give you a call to discuss your interest.

2. Calling our team on 01983 823160 and we will be happy to talk to you about your interest.

3. Visiting us at a drop-in event and a team member can answer questions and complete an initial enquiry form.