The Fostering Application Process
As a foster carer, we want you to have oodles of patience, empathy and passion as a professional within our fostering team. You’ll be able to demonstrate that you can meet a range of standards, and work towards goals established with the child’s social worker.
Choosing to foster is a life-changing decision and whilst this should not be taken lightly, it can be hugely rewarding career. The children you foster will always be a part of your family, whether in memory or in person.
We welcome people who are single, married, divorced, cohabiting, gay or lesbian – as long as you are able to meet the needs of children in your care, in a stable and supportive environment.
We don’t expect our foster carers to come with all the skills and knowledge needed. If you have commitment, enthusiasm and a child-centred attitude then we can offer the preparation and training. Once approved, you’ll receive regular ongoing training to ensure you develop these skills.
Enquiry & Application
It’s important to find a fostering service that feels right for you. We welcome all enquiries by phone, email or in person.
Once you’ve made an enquiry, we’ll organise a visit in your home to chat about your decision to foster.
If your application is accepted, you will start the preparation and assessment process. This can take about six to eight months, sometimes longer, but we will keep you informed.
What questions will I get asked when I enquire?
It’s important for us to find out lots of things about you before we start a fostering application. When you enquire about fostering, we will ask a series of questions about your family, home, job and health so that we can understand as much about you as possible.
We will ask…
- Full name
- Address – how long have you lived at this address? Type of accommodation?
- Contact Numbers? Home, work, mobile
- Email address
- UK Resident?
- Place of Birth?
- Do you drive? Are you a car owner?
- Marital status? How long have you been in your present relationship?
- Do you have children living in the house? Gender, ages.
- What are your reasons for wanting to foster?
- Have you made previous enquiries into fostering with any other Authority/Agency? If yes, who and when? Please Note: you can only be registered with one Independent Fostering Agency or Local Authority.
- Have you discussed fostering with your family and friends?
- Do you have any experience of working with children?
- Brief childhood background. Have you experienced separation/divorce?
- Previous partners names of birth children
- Children of Relationships – names, ages, resident and contact status
- Do you have a local support network?
- Do you have any health issues?
- Do you have any convictions? If yes, what are they for and how long have they got to run?
Skills to Foster Training
There will be six sessions of training which is usually completed in three double sessions. Training duration is approximately 1 hour for single sessions and 2 hours for double sessions. Training can be undertaken at the weekend or an evening. Are you prepared for that?
The interview process will be intrusive into your private life. Please note that family, extended family members and ex partners of birth children will be interviewed as part of the form F assessment process.
The Assessment Process
During the assessment process, you will attend a series of sessions to learn more about fostering. You will have a chance to hear from experienced foster carers and learn about a range of issues. You will be introduced to the Training, Development and Support Standards (TSDS) for Fostering, which gives you a framework for your ongoing training and professional development.
Alongside the preparation, you will be visited by a social worker at home, usually around eight to ten times. If you have children, they will also want to speak with them. This is how we get to know you and we’ll be able to assess your suitability as a foster carer. It’s also a great opportunity for you to ask questions about what is involved, and with your social worker, you’ll be considered whether you have the necessary skills and strengths.
The assessment will explore your background information, history and individual profiles. The point of this is to build an accurate account of your family and life experiences so far.
As well as other areas, your social worker will take with you about your experience with children and your approach to caring for them. You will need to think about your reasons for wanting to foster.
Our social workers are not necessarily looking for a problem-free background; having worked trough earlier traumatic experiences and coming out the other side can be an important strength.
Why is the assessment process necessary?
All children needing foster care will have experienced separation from their family with many having experienced neglect and abuse. They are, understandably, likely to be demanding to care for and, for their sake and yours, it is important that you are well prepared and confident in any situation you may face with fostering.
Regulations set out the information that we are required to gather and the issues we have to address. You can look at these yourself by visiting the government’s website here.
Pre-approval training forms part of your assessment process and is designed to prepare you for the challenges ahead of you as a foster carer.
It’s held at our offices and are run by our dedicated social workers and experienced foster carers.
We’ll help you understand why children and young people are in foster care, explain your role as a foster carer and discuss how fostering may affect your family.
You’ll come away with a comprehensive understanding of what foster carers do, how to care safely, and how you can support children when they leave your care.
There’s no test at the end of your training, we would just like to prepare you for panel and approval.
During Panel and the Approval stage of your fostering application, your social worker will be busy finalising your report in anticipation of presenting it to our fostering panel.
Our panel combines people who have professional and personal experiences of fostering. They will receive a copy of your report before the meeting so that they have time to read it over. Confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us, and as such, panel members will only discuss relevant information with other panel members during the meeting. Your social worker will also attend to answer any questions.
After their discussion, the panel will make a recommendation to the decision-maker. They are the person who will make the decision as to whether you are approved or not.