Your Journey to becoming an approved foster carer
There are three stages of the recruitment journey which you will go through until you are an approved foster carer.
Initial enquiry: You can speak to a member of our fostering team on our Freephone number 0800 731 8558 if you are interested in fostering. At this stage, we will send out an information brochure to you by email or post.
We will invite you to attend our information event which is held monthly. This is a good opportunity for you to find out more about the fostering process. If you are unable to attend the information event or would like to proceed with your application sooner, we can skip this step and arrange a date and time to complete a telephone questionnaire with you.
Telephone questionnaire: We will need to complete a telephone questionnaire with you to find out more about you. The questionnaire takes approximately 30 minutes and we will need to speak to the main applicant (if you are in a relationship). You will need to have a spare room in order to proceed to this stage. Once the telephone questionnaire is completed, we will make a decision whether you are successful to proceed to the next step and will advise you accordingly.
Initial home visit: A recruitment social worker from the fostering team will contact you to arrange a date and time to visit you at your home. The recruitment social worker will discuss fostering in more detail and will look at the space you have available for a foster child. The purpose of this initial visit is to further build on the information shared during the telephone questionnaire, establish your motivation to foster, as well as look at your suitability and the suitability of your home. Following this visit, your application is then reviewed by a manager who will make a decision as to whether a full fostering assessment is offered.
Application pack: If a full fostering assessment is offered, we will send out an application pack to you along with consent to statutory checks which you will need to complete and return to the fostering team.
Stage one begins when we receive your completed application form. You will also be required to attend a ‘Skills to Foster’ preparation training as provided by the fostering team. Recruitment social workers facilitate these training sessions with the help of experienced foster carers and young people who have previously been in the care of the local authority. A number of key topics are covered in the training including the role of foster carers, promoting cultural identity and life chances, the challenges and rewards of fostering, child development, safer caring, and moving children on to their new placement or returning to live with their birth family or relative.
During this stage statutory checks including Disclosure and Barring Service, NSPCC, Medical, Employment and Local Authority checks are carried out. 4 personal references will also be sought including previous partner’s reference (if applicable).
Once your checks and information have been received. The applicant will be informed of the decision to proceed to Stage 2 within 10 working days.
If during stage one, we decide not to proceed with your assessment, we will write to you informing you of their decision and the reasons for this.
In stage two, the assessment process starts. During the assessment, the applicant will be allocated a recruitment social worker who will visit you between 6-8 times to complete a comprehensive assessment form. For joint applicants, each applicant will be seen at least once by themselves. A health and safety and equipment assessment is also carried out. For families who live in private rented accommodation, an agreement in writing from the landlord is required. A start up grant is available to applicants to purchase essential furniture/equipment to meet the foster child’s needs. Applicants will be given some written work to complete between visits to add to the assessment. During the assessment a Form assessment will be compiled.
Towards the end of your journey. You will be required to attend a Fostering Panel. The Fostering Panel is made up of 8-10 independent and professional members who evaluate the fostering assessment report and make a decision whether to recommend applicants as foster carers. Your recruitment social worker will also accompany you to the panel.
If your application is successful, you will be approved to foster. The panel will also make a recommendation as to the age and number of children you may be suited for caring, as well as the type of Fostering e.g. short term or long term.
It usually takes about four to six months to go the assessment and approval process to become a foster carer.
After the approval
Following approval, you’ll be allocated a supervising social worker. You’ll also get 24 hours support and ongoing training courses to assist you in your role as a foster carer.
You can contact us for a free chat on 0800 731 8558 to find out more about fostering. Once you've registered, we’ll then send you an information pack.