In order to become registered foster carers there is a process everyone must undertake which is called a Form F Assessment. This is just to make sure fostering is right for you. The role of a foster carer can often be quite a demanding one so we just need to make sure that you and we are 100% sure that it’s the right fit for the needs of a child.
The Assessment Process generally takes around 3 – 5 months and you will be assigned an Assessing Social Worker who will work with you to complete the report. All potential foster carers are required to have a Form F Assessment undertaken before they can start looking after children.
We try and make this process as easy and enjoyable as possible. If you ever have any questions throughout your assessment your Assessing Social Worker is always there for you.
“The assessment process was informative, helpful and fair, sessions with assessor were excellent, assessment process was excellent”. Foster Carer 2018
The next steps to becoming a Foster Carer. Click the stages to expand.
Once you have met us and you feel that we are the right agency for you, we will allocate you an assessing social worker who will carry out your personal assessment. They will explain the skills and qualities that foster carers need. They will also discuss how you can demonstrate your skills through practical examples of activities you’re already involved in.
The social worker will conduct an in depth assessment which also looks at your life, family, values, skills and childhood experiences as well as the other members of your household. This assessment will cover a range of subjects relating to the needs of children who require fostering.
All the information gathered by the assessing social worker is put into a report (Form F Report) outlining your skills, your future training needs and areas where perhaps you need more help with. You’ll see the report before panel and you can make your own comments in writing.
We also have to obtain the following references; personal, relative, employer/ previous employment, ex employer, previous fostering agencies and ex partners (with your permission of course) . The reasons for this will be explained at the initial visit. In addition we will ask you to have a health check to show you don’t have any major health problems.
It is not possible for people to become foster carers if they have committed any offences against children, or some other serious offences. We will explain more about this during the initial enquiry and initial visit.
You will receive an invitation to attend the mandatory pre-approval training, where you’ll learn more about what’s involved in fostering. This is also a chance to meet other people who are going through the process and talk to experienced foster carers.
The two day course (over a weekend) explores why children arrive in care, the effects on them of poor parenting, positive ways of caring, attachment theory, safeguarding and many other useful inputs.
We also invite all of our applicant carers to all of our training once we have received the application form. Getting this solid base in fostering early doors proves an invaluable induction and gives them the chance to meet other foster carers already working with the agency.
Once the report is finished we will invite you to panel. We have a team of panel members who will make a recommendation to our Agency Decision Maker (ADM) as to whether or not to approve you as a foster carer. The number of children you can foster, age and gender of the children will be discussed and put forward to the ADM . The ADM will then review the papers and the recommendations, advised by the panel, and they will give their final decision regarding approval within a week of the panel date.
These days you can expect to be sitting with around 7 people at our fostering panel. You will be supported by your assessing social worker. In the very unlikely and unusual situation you are not approved at panel, your assessing social worker will discuss the reasons with you and we will write to you. You will be able to put forward your own views and appeal the decision. Normally we would not take people to panel if we did not believe they would be approved but panel are rightly independent of the company in order to ensure applications are vigorously examined and only those people with the competence and skills are approved as foster carers.
Once you are approved you’ll be given further information about more training opportunities by your allocated Fostering Social Worker, they will enrol you on your first year’s training programme and support your learning. Additionally, within the first year you will be supported to undertake a Training Support and Development (TSD) workbook, which is a mandatory national programme.
After discussions on matching a child’s needs to your skills, a child or children will be placed with you. Their age and the length of their stay depends on the type of fostering you’re approved for and what might suit your family.
If, at any point, we consider that fostering is not the way forward for you, we will always explain our reasons behind the decision. Once you have had your application accepted you have a right to appeal against the decisions we make.
We generally process applications from the Initial visit to Panel in 3 -5 months depending on the complexity.