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Where do I start?


Start the process by completing our initial enquiry form or contact our Duty Worker on 01387 260 068 or email

Initial visit

Your query will go to one of the Fostering and Adoption Team who will contact you to discuss your interest in more detail and will send you further information. If you are still interested we will arrange an initial home visit. This is so we can find out a bit more about you, your partner, any other relevant family members (if applicable) and your home, and it gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have. If appropriate you will be invited to attend our next pre-approval course.

Pre-approval course

This is a four day course which we currently run four times a year. It takes place in Dumfries and we expect that you and your partner (if applicable) attend all days, there is also an opportunity for your own children to attend if they wish. It is run by experienced workers from the Fostering and Adoption team and the Looked-After Health Team with input from foster carers, adopters, social workers and young people who have experienced foster care. There are group exercises, videos, role-play and lots of open discussions. We cover a range of issues related to adoption and fostering, focusing on the impact of trauma and how therapeutic parenting can help heal trauma. The course will also include case studies of children who are in foster care or have been adopted as well as the legal processes involved.

At the end of the pre-approval course you will be invited to make an application to be assessed as prospective adopters or foster carers.

Home Study Report

The purpose of the home study report is to get to know more about you, undertake initial checks such as PVG, medicals, references and identify strengths and any vulnerabilities you may have. A Fostering and Adoption worker will make a number of visits to your home and will get to know you by exploring your family background, your childhood experiences, relationship history and your present circumstances.

If you are a couple, the Fostering and Adoption worker will see you together and individually. If you have any birth children, your worker will meet with them to gain their views on fostering/adoption.

At the end of the home study, you and your Fostering and Adoption worker will review the report. The report includes a detailed assessment of you as a potential adoptive parent or foster carer. It will include consideration of your medical, disclosure, personal and employment references. A key part of the report is for you and your worker to decide the sort of child or children you feel you could care for. Could you, for example, look after a child with a physical or learning difficulty? Or a sibling group? What age range would you consider? The home study can be emotionally challenging and feel intrusive for some, but others have found it to be rewarding. It will take several months to complete. To be an adoptive or foster carer requires a significant commitment from you and your family and requires a great deal of thought.

Panel approval and registration

The home study report is presented to a panel of four to eight people, who will include social workers, other professionals and independent members including approved carers. You and your Fostering and Adoption worker will attend to talk about your assessment and answer any questions. Once the panel has considered the report, they will recommend whether or not you should be approved as an adoptive parent or foster carer. The agency decision maker will then decide whether or not to accept the panel's recommendations within 14 calendar days of the panel meeting. You will be advised of this decision in writing. You will be allocated a support worker from the Fostering and Adoption team, usually the worker who wrote your Home Study Report and they will discuss any furniture you need and discuss with you how to prepare to welcome a child

Further information

To find out more about fostering in general and support provided by the Fostering Network. The Fostering Network is the UK's leading fostering charity | The Fostering Network

For information on therapeutic parenting Home | National Association of Therapeutic Parents (

To find out more about adoption and the support provided by Adoption UK Adoption UK Charity

Support and information for LGBTQI foster families and adopters New Family Social - Who We Are

More information on the impact of childhood trauma Childhood Trauma and the Brain | UK Trauma Council - YouTube

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