Foster a West Sussex child - your journey starts here

The fostering process

Discover more about the assessment process in West Sussex.

“Having had a long-term ambition to foster, it felt amazing to be approved!” David, foster carer

If you are interested in fostering with us you can start your application today, using the contact details at the bottom of this page.

Once you contact us, your fostering enquiry may lead on to a full fostering assessment. The following gives you an overview of each step of the journey to approval.

Your enquiry

Once you have made an enquiry - either online, by phoning 033 022 27775 (during office hours) or face-to-face at one of our events - we will gather some general information from you about why you would like to foster. We will then complete our own database checks.

Home visit

We will arrange to visit you at home to find out more about you and your family and ensure your home is suitable for fostering.


Stage 1

If you are eligible to start the assessment process, we will initiate Stage 1 checks and references (these include statutory checks such as Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), health and employment/personal references and safeguarding) and an assessing social worker will be allocated to you. You will also be booked onto our ‘Skills to Foster’ three-day mandatory training course which will help prepare you for your role as a foster carer.

Stage 2

Your assessing social worker will then begin a Stage 2 assessment. This is an in-depth look at a wide range of areas which will inform us as to your suitability and capacity to foster.

During the assessment, your assessing social worker will write a report (known as a Form F assessment) saying why you should or should not be approved to foster, including a recommendation as to the age range/type of fostering and number of children.

If at any point during the assessment process we feel it is not appropriate to recommend you for fostering, we will discuss this with you at the earliest opportunity and give our reasons in writing.


The report is then submitted to a foster panel and you will be invited to attend a panel appointment with your assessing social worker. After asking you and your social worker some questions, the panel will make a recommendation as to whether you should be approved as a foster carer.

This decision will be ratified by our agency decision maker. Once this has happened, your fostering can begin! 

This whole process typically takes around four to six months to complete, although this will be quicker if you are transferring from another fostering agency.

Before you apply to foster it can be a good idea to come along to one of our information sessions. You can ask any questions you may have and will have the chance to speak to a local foster carer.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, or have decided that you wish to foster, we’d love to hear from you.

You can:

Last updated:
30 June 2022
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