“We’ve been fostering for six years. It’s rewarding seeing changes in the
children but it’s always hard letting them go.”
Fostering becoming a foster carer
Becoming a foster carer doesn’t happen overnight. Once you have submitted a registration form, it takes anywhere between nine months and two years (depending on circumstance and needs for the children and young people) before you can become a foster carer.
This period of time will help you to decide whether fostering is right for you and give you time to think about the scheme that would be the most suitable for you.
Please be aware that the stages below are a guide and currently under revision. If you wish to talk to a member of the team about the revised stages, please call us on 01274 434331.
What are the Stages:
- Information Evening
- Registration of Interest
- Initial Visit
- Home Visits for Assessment
- Fostering Panel
- Post Approval
1. Information Evening
When you have read this information pack, you need to come to one of the information evenings held bi-monthly. You will be able to talk to a social worker about your interest in fostering and ask any questions. The social worker will want to see if you meet our eligibility criteria and if it seems you meet the requirements we will give you a registration form.
See What Next? section
2. Registration of Interest
You send in your completed registration form.
3. Initial Visit
Following receipt of your application we will contact you to arrange a home visit. You will be invited to discuss your application and will receive further information about what fostering involves. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions.
We will take up checks with the local Health Authority, Children Services, NSPCC, and the Criminal Records Bureau to check that they don’t hold any records that might count against you. We’ll also ask you for the names of two people who know you well and who will give you personal references.
You will be sent for a full medical with your own doctor who will advise our medical advisor. If you have a health problem or disability, please talk to us about its impact on you. We will advise you about the information we need to consider for your application; which may include reports from specialists
You will be invited to a series of preparation and training groups with other prospective carers. You will also have the chance to meet experienced carers and find out what fostering is really like!
7. Home Visits for Assessment
A social worker from the Fostering Service will visit you at your home on a number of occasions to complete an assessment report on you and your family and your suitability to foster. The social worker will also visit your personal referees and will want to meet relatives from your extended family. If you have been in a previous relationship, particularly where you have cared for children, we will need to talk to you about making contact with your former partner and / or children.
8. Fostering Panel
Your report is presented to the Fostering Panel, which recommends whether you can be approved as a foster carer. You are expected to attend the Panel with your social worker and have the opportunity to answer any questions Panel members may have. The panel makes a recommendation to a senior manager who makes the final decision. If you are in disagreement about the decision you will be advised about the choices that are open to you.
Depending on the type of fostering your are approved for, arrangements will be made to make sure you are ready for a placement.
10. Post Approval
Once approved you are required to attend regular training courses. There are support opportunities to assist you in caring for children and young people. You will also have a supervising social worker who is responsible to provide you with support, advice and guidance to help you care for the foster children you foster.
You will have an annual review of your position and whether any changes need to be made.