How to become a foster carer with Focus Foster Care
Recent research published on The Fostering Network website discovered that over 7000 new foster carers are needed in England in order to be able to meet the needs of the number of children needing care away from their birth families. There are currently 56160 children living with foster carers and approximately 44450 foster families in England, creating a significant shortfall and a need for more people to put themselves forward to care for these vulnerable children. At Focus Foster Care we are actively seeking to recruit people who want to become foster carers to join our dedicated and committed team. If you are thinking about fostering and would like to know more about the process of fostering with our agency, here is a quick guide on what you need to do and what to expect from the process.
How to become a foster carer with Focus Foster Care.
Research fostering– The first step to becoming a foster carer is moving from just wondering what being a foster carer would be like to starting to take action. If you want to learn more about what sort of person makes a good foster carer or what being a foster carer is really like then there are lots of resources available online. Here on the Focus Foster Care blog we have posts written specifically to help potential foster carers decide if a career in fostering is for them (you can read them by clicking here).
Check you live in the right area – Our registered office is based in Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth but we have foster carers across the West Midlands region and surrounding areas and work alongside Local Authorities in these areas who are looking for placements for children. If you live in any area across the West Midlands, for example, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Birmingham or just beyond, for example Derbyshire and Worcestershire, Focus Foster Care could be the agency for you.
Phone us and make an enquiry on 0800 524497 – Once you have decided you want to find out more about fostering and live in the right area to apply to be a foster carer with us, the next thing you need to do is give us a call and speak to a duty social worker who will be happy to answer all your questions and complete an initial enquiry form with you.
Have a home visit with a social worker – After speaking on the phone and successfully going through our initial enquiry process, we will arrange for one of our social workers to come out to see you at home to give you the chance to ask more questions, for us to get to know you a bit better, to discuss the different aspects of the fostering role and also to understand the space you have to offer. We have a ‘Meet the team’ section on our blog where you can find out more about our social workers prior to your home visit. We hope this helps you feel more at ease when we come for our initial meeting with you.
Fill in an application form – After the home visit, if you decide you would like to proceed, we will ask you to complete an application form either from your information pack or on-line. Once this is completed we can begin Stage One of the assessment process.
Checks, assessment and training– A big part of your journey to becoming a foster carer is the assessment process. You will be allocated a social worker who will work with you throughout the process. At Stage 1, with your consent we undertake a number of statutory checks (these will be explained to you) and you will complete the agency’s Skills to Foster pre-approval training course. Stage two of the assessment is completed by undertaking sessions with you at home. (There is more information about what happens during the assessment process for foster carers on our webpage).
Fostering Panel – Once your assessment report is completed and a recommendation has been made, the assessment is presented to a fostering panel by your social worker. You will also attend panel where members will have questions for you based on the assessment and will also be keen to hear about your experiences and get your feedback on the process. The role of panel is to ensure they have enough information from your assessing social worker and agency to decide about your suitability to foster. Panel members also make a recommendation, and this then goes to our agency decision maker who has the final say on approval.
You join our team of foster carers – If you assessment is successful and you are approved as a foster carer, we will then begin the process of matching you with children. As we are a small and nurturing fostering agency, we will be with you every step of the way and will continue to support you through your whole fostering journey.
Our assessment process takes approximately six months from initial enquiry through to approval, that’s just half a year. Phone us today and by the summer you could be welcoming your very first child into your home and get to experience the absolute privilege of being a foster carer.
We hope this guide on how to become a foster carer with Focus Foster Care has been useful. If you would like to begin your fostering journey with us, phone us today on 0800 5244797, we look forward to hearing from you.
*All statistics sourced from The Fostering Network website