IT'S one of the biggest questions asked by people coming forward to Foster for Somerset County Council: ‘What I have to do to be a Foster Carer’?

There are Seven Steps every prospective Foster Carer has to take, to approval and beyond.

Recently-approved Foster Carers, Zoe and Ian Tofield from Glastonbury, are sharing their experience of these Seven Steps in a chatty blog post on

Zoe, 53, and Ian, 52, foster a 15 year-old full time, and have cared for other children on a respite basis.

They say they found the Seven Steps challenging, thought-provoking and hard work, but ultimately worth it to become Foster Carers.

So what motivated them to foster?

Zoe said: “I’ve always wanted to foster but the timing was never right. My kids are all grown up now, but seven children later I’m fostering.

"And Ian didn’t take much persuading.

“I had a really rubbish upbringing, so for me, applying to foster was about showing children that there is another way of doing things.

"I wanted to show them they don’t have to follow the only path they can see in front of them, they can make their own way.

"You have to make your own luck and grab opportunities, and it’s trying to get them to see that.”

The Seven Steps to becoming a Foster Carer are:

1. Initial enquiry – Give the Fostering Recruitment Service a ring on 0800 587 9900, email or enquire online at and the team will get back in touch for a chat, a visit at home, or to invite you to an information event.

2. Tell the council you’re interested – Where, having been given all the information, you complete paperwork to formally apply to foster, and yo'll be invited you to initial training.

3. Training – You attend ‘Skills to Foster’ training to prepare you for fostering.

4. Assessment – A social worker visits you several times to get to know you, your family, home and experiences to make sure you can offer a child security, stability and safety.

The council will also complete checks, including a DBS and medical. From this your social worker writes an assessment report about your suitability to foster.

5. The Panel – The assessment report is presented to the foster panel, which you can attend. Panel decides whether to recommend your approval. A senior manager then considers this to reach a final decision.

6. Placement – Once you’ve been approved, you will have your own social worker, who can talk with you about children who need foster placements and identify an appropriate child for you and your family.

7. Ongoing development and support – Your social worker keeps in regular contact with you to offer support and guidance. There is a comprehensive training programme to help you develop your skills.

To read Zoe and Ian’s insight into their experience of the Seven Steps, click here. 

Somerset County Council is really keen to hear from people with the energy, enthusiasm and space to offer children in care.

Find out how you can make a difference as a Foster Carer in Somerset – visit, phone 0800 587 9900, ‘like’ the Fostering in Somerset Facebook page or follow @fostersomerset on Twitter.

The next information event takes place on Thursday, November 17, 7pm to 9pm at Costa Coffee, 13, Middle Street, Yeovil, Somerset, BA20 1LE.