Steps into Fostering
There are 7 steps to becoming a foster carer
1. Initial Enquiry
and Making Contact:
The most common way of making contact is by using the “Enquiry” tab on
this website and filling in your details. However, we do offer an alternative
which is to use the 0800 number provided, where you are able to chat to one of
our team. This option is mainly used where you have a more immediate need for
information. Prior to your initial enquiry you may wish to take a look at the
“FAQ” (Frequently Asked Questions). The “Home” tab also gives a good background
into our agency and some detail on fostering.
2. Initial Contact:
Once we have your contact details one of our
qualified team members will make contact with you to discuss your own personal
circumstances and answer some of your specific questions.
3. Home Visit by a social worker:
If you decide you want to carry on with the process after the initial
contact, our social worker will arrange an appointment to visit you (and your
partner if relevant) at your home. A detailed discussion will take place during
this visit with the opportunity again for you to ask any further questions
applicable to your individual circumstances. If you are confident fostering is
for you and the social worker is of a similar view they will ask you to sign a
“Consent to Vetting” form which will enable our agency to go ahead with some
statutory checks. An Information Pack and an Application Form will be left with
you. Once the application Form is returned to our agency the assessment process
can be started on your behalf.
4. Contact with an Assessor
After our agency has received your Application Form following the home
visit you will be assigned a qualified social worker who will complete your
assessment to become a qualified foster carer over a period of approximately 4 –
5. Invitation to “Skills to Foster” course
During your assessment you will be invited to attend Skills to Foster,
which is a mandatory stage in your assessment. The course is led by members of
our team and will cover keys aspects of becoming a foster carer.
This course will also provide an opportunity to meet other prospective
foster carers and experienced foster carers to discuss their own experiences
and how they have developed as a foster carer with the appropriate placements
A fostering social worker will visit you and talk with you about your
family background, motivation and expectations of fostering. You will be asked
to provide information about your education, employment history, leisure
interests, past relationships and experience of caring for children. We will
also ask you to have a health assessment via your GP.
The assessment process to be considered as a foster carer will be very
thorough because fostering is a life-changing decision. We have to be sure that
it is right for you, and we have to be confident in your ability to foster a
child. During the process we will be honest with you and you will know what the
likely outcome of your application will be by the time the assessing social
worker has finished all their visits. Equally, if you feel that fostering is
not for you there is no obligation for you to continue.
7. Fostering Panel and approval process
The Fostering Panel is a group of professionals, including social
workers, a foster carer and other independent members with particular interest
or expertise in fostering.
Following the full assessment process your social worker will write a
detailed report, which you will have a chance to read and comment on. The
Fostering Panel will consider the report and you will be invited to attend the
Panel meeting along with your social worker. The Panel will decide whether to
recommend you as suitable to foster. An appointed agency representative will
then decide whether or not to accept the Fostering Panel’s recommendation,
based on all of the reports and minutes of the panel meeting.
If the decision is not to approve you, there are two options for you to
express unhappiness with the decision if you wish. You can make representation
to the agency Regional Manager, who will reconsider your application, or you
can contact the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) for a completely independent
review of your application.
In summary, the above assessment process is structured
to ensure that all members of your family and your foster placement are safe
and that the techniques and skills you have learnt during assessment and
training can be used to enhance a child’s quality of life.