the assessment process
Becoming a foster carer is a really big decision and we understand that you will have probably thought about it for a long time. To become a foster carer there is a process to go through which may seem daunting but don’t worry we are here to help and support you. If you decide to apply to us we would like to make the process as straight forward as possible. We have a duty to ensure that potential foster carers are able to safely care for children and this is achieved through an assessment process.
Step 1: Initial Enquiry – when you call or email us you will have the opportunity to talk to one of our Social Workers. The purpose of this is so that we can answer any questions that you may have and also for us to gain a brief understanding of what you are hoping to offer so that we can find out if we are the right agency for you. There is no commitment when you call us and if you decide that you do not wish to progress any further we will understand.
Step 2: Home Visit – If after talking to one of our Social Workers we both feel that you may be able to proceed further a Social Worker will visit you at your home to give you a further opportunity to ask any questions, to help you decide if fostering is right for you and your family at this time. The visit also gives us the opportunity to look at the bedroom that you are able to offer to a child or young person.
Step 3: Application Form – If after the home visit it is decided that fostering is right for you, you will be asked to complete an application form. Once this has been received we are able to move to the next stage of completing various background checks. These checks are a regulatory requirement and include a Disclosure and Barring Service Check (DBS), Social Services check for the areas that you have lived in for the past 10 years, references, a medical assessment and a home risk assessment. These checks form part of your Form F assessment and we will keep you updated at every stage.
Step 4: Your Assessment – We use the CoramBAAF Form F model to undertake our assessments and in order to complete this piece of work a Social Worker will be assigned to you. The worker will visit you in your home on a weekly basis for an average of 8 weeks. During these sessions they will talk to you about all aspects of your life in order to be able to assess what type of children you may be able to look after. Once completed all of this information is presented to an independent fostering panel which forms the final part of the assessment process.
Step 5: Training – During your assessment you will be required to attend pre approval training sessions to ensure you are thoroughly prepared for fostering.
Step 6: Panel – Our independent fostering panel is made up of a number of individuals who offer either personal or professional experience of fostering and child care. The purpose of panel is to quality assure the Social Workers assessment and to make a recommendation in relation to your suitability as a foster carer. You are asked to attend the panel meeting where you will be asked some final questions and the Panel will then make a recommendation to our Agency Decision Maker. The Decision Maker will then make the final decision on your application based on all of the information provided to them.
Step 7: Approval as a foster carer – Once approved you will be able to be matched with children and young people. You will be assigned a Supervising Social Worker who is likely to be the person that undertook your assessment. The Social Worker will meet with you regularly and you will continue to receive support and training to help you with your role.
Your journey doesn’t end with approval – it’s just the start! As soon as you are approved we will begin the process of matching you to your first placement and will continue to support you through every step of your fostering career.