FF Blog: Our Fostering Application Process
At The Fostering Team, we aim to make our enquiry and fostering application process to become a Foster Carer with us as streamlined as possible, to give you peace of mind and ensure that you are kept informed and at the centre every step of the way.
The fostering assessment process is something which every potential Foster Carer who has successfully passed the initial selection criteria will need to undergo before they can foster with The Fostering Team; this is a legal requirement. Although not every application follows exactly the same sequence, the following stages should provide you a good idea of what to expect.
Once an interested applicant has contacted us, we’ll have a chat with you to see whether The Fostering Team is right for you. We can also send an email with a Fostering Information Guide for you to browse through. If our conversation is positive, we will arrange to visit you in your home and answer any further questions you may have. If we are both happy, we will leave an application form with you to complete and return to us.
Making an Application to Foster
Once we’ve received your completed application, which includes your consent for us to conduct statutory checks and obtain references, we will be in touch with you to commence the process and start obtaining the checks and references.
You will be allocated an assessing Social Worker who will visit you and your family at home on several occasions over a few weeks to collect information about you and your life. Such as: your childhood and past relationships, work history, health, family and personal interests. They will also talk to you about the fostering role. For example: how you will support a child developing their resilience and self-esteem and build structures and boundaries. They will also help you to identify your support network and carry out a home safety check or pet safety questionnaire; we will also visit family members or friends as your nominated referees. All of this information will be detailed in a document called a ‘Form F’ which is used to help match you and your family to a child needing a safe, secure home.
During this time, you will also attend the mandatory “Skills To Foster” training course. This is a pre-approval training course designed to help you understand the role of fostering.
What References and Checks Will You Carry Out?
As part of the application process, we will carry out series of checks and reference requests. These include:
- Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), for anyone in the house over the age of 16
- Local Authority residency checks
- Ex-partner checks
- A medical report from your family GP
- Written references from at least three personal referees
- Educational references for any children in the home
- References from previous employers or fostering agencies
- A full safety check on your home including any pets you may have
After completing the Form F, your assessor will help you prepare for the Fostering Panel, who are a group of independent professionals who will consider your assessment and make a recommendation regarding your approval as a Foster Carer. After Panel, The Fostering Team’s Decision Maker will consider the advice and recommendations of the Fostering Panel and if everything is positive, you will be approved to foster with The Fostering Team and can begin to make a real difference to vulnerable children and young people’s lives.
How Long Does it Take to be Approved?
The process from beginning to end takes, on average, around 4-6 months, but this depends on your time being available to meet with your assessor. Our dedicated foster care team have many years’ experience and will be there to make it as simple and seamless as possible.
What if I’m Not Approved?
At The Fostering Team, we have years of experience of assessing potential foster families. If you aren’t right for The Fostering Team, or for fostering, we will usually be able to tell you early in the application process. It is very important that you are open and honest with us when answering our questions and as such, we will also be open and honest with you regarding the reasons if we are unable to continue. Sometimes it is necessary to bring an application process to an end at a later stage, such as during the assessment; it is very rare indeed for an application to be turned down during the latest stages, such as when you are ready for Panel. It is our aim to minimise wasting your time or causing you unnecessary distress, so we will tell you as early in the process as possible if fostering with The Fostering Team is not right for you.
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