Everyone who wants to become a foster carer goes through a similar process. We know it can be daunting, but it’s worth it. From the moment you submit your enquiry to when you attend panel for a decision, Family Care is there to support you every step of the way.
Stage 1: Initial Enquiry
As the name suggests, this will be the first contact between applicants and the fostering agency. For Family Care, this is an informal chat on the phone. We discuss your interest in fostering, go through some questions and answer any that you’ve got.
It takes between 4-6 months to be approved as a foster carer so we don’t rush things, but the sooner you enquire the sooner you can start fostering. There is a shortage of over 8,000 foster carers right now, what are you waiting for? Get the ball rolling today by calling 0800 5 677 677 or submitting your details using our online form.
Stage 2: Foster Care Home visit
The next step is a home visit from one of our supervising social workers. We’ll have a look at the available bedroom(s) for fostering and we’ll talk in more detail about the ins and outs of an assessment.
It’s best that all family members living in the home are present for the visit. Fostering should work for everybody and we like to get everyone’s views on it. We’ll answer the questions you forgot to ask during the initial enquiry (!) and send you an application form if the visit goes well.
Stage 3: Foster Care Assessment
Your fostering assessment formally begins when you complete and return the application form. You will be allocated with an assessor to complete your fostering assessment with the support of our Practice Manager.
There are two stages to an assessment which we run at the same time. They include medical checks, local authority checks, finance checks and a DBS check (formerly CRB). We will seek employment references and personal references and you will be enrolled on the Skills to Foster™ training course.
The assessment stage is the longest stage in the process. Your assessor will visit you frequently to compile the report which will eventually be presented to Panel with a recommendation.
Stage 4: Foster Care Training
The Skills to Foster™ is a 2-day training course that focusses on the practical, day-to-day skills all foster carers will need in their roles. You will cover a range of topics including Safer Caring, Caring for Others and Transitions.
In addition to the Skills to Foster™ pre-approval training, you must complete 5 mandatory training courses and 3 e-learning courses in your first 12-months as an approved foster carer. Training must be completed by both applicants if applying as a couple.
Stage 5: Foster Care Panel
This is the last stage in the process to become a foster carer and it’s one that many applicants get nervous about. After all, you’ve just gone through 4-6 months of an assessment so it’s only natural to want a decision.
You will be accompanied by your assessor to attend Panel which is comprised of a Panel Chair and Vice-Chair, at least 5 independent panel members and sometimes an observer. They will have reviewed your fostering assessment paperwork in the weeks leading up to Panel and may ask you some questions on the day.
Panel will then make a recommendation which is passed on to the Agency Decision-Maker (ADM) who makes the final call. If the recommendation is approval, your fostering journey is just getting started!
Once ADM signs off on your approval, we make local authorities aware of your availability, skills and the types of foster placement you can offer. We then start the matching process.
If you are over 21 and have the time to care for a young person, you could become a foster carer.
Start your carer journey today and make a difference to a child’s life.
Healing Pasts | Building Futures