The Application/Assessment Process
The application and assessment process for prospective foster carers is rigorous and thorough. When you express an initial interest in fostering with Children Always First, we will visit you to talk about the agency, the way in which we work, and what is involved in terms of assessment and the requirements of the role.
It is a great opportunity for you and your family to find out more about the process of becoming of foster carers. We will look at your accommodation as well as taking basic information about you and your family. After you have heard all about our service and what fostering actually entails you will be able to make a formal application, should you still be interested in working with us.
You will be asked to fill in an application form about yourself and other members of your household. This form gives the agency permission to carry out a variety of background checks.
In order to safeguard the children we care for, we need to carry out various checks. These include checks with the Disclosure & Barring Service and Local Authority checks. Medical, personal and employment references are also necessary.
It is not be 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’ll be asked for proof of your identity (like a passport, birth or marriage certificate) and we will ask you to have a health check to show you don’t have any major health problems.
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 three day course (run over two weekends) will explore why children arrive in care, the affects on them of poor parenting, positive ways of caring and many other useful inputs.
The Form F Assessment
Once you have successfully completed the course, you will be allocated a 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.
Children Always First will take up your personal and employer references. We will ask your permission to contact ex partners and adult children. The reasons for this will be explained at the initial visit.
All the information gathered by the social worker is put into a report outlining your skills, your future training needs and areas where perhaps you need more help. You’ll see the social worker’s report before panel and you can make your own comments in writing.
The social worker then presents the report to the fostering panel. You will be invited to the panel and there is an expectation that you will attend.
The panel will make a recommendation to our Agency Decision Maker (ADM) as to whether or not to approve you as a foster carer and the number, age and gender of children you can foster. The ADM will then review the papers and the recommendations, advised by the panel, and give their final decision regarding approval within weeks of the panel date.
In the unlikely situation you are not approved, your 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.
Once you’re approved you’ll be given further information about training opportunities by your own allocated Fostering social worker who will support you as a foster carer. Although within the first year you will be expected to undertake the CWDC Induction to Foster Care, which is a 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.
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.