Becoming a Foster Carer with The Fostering Company
Application and Assessment
Once you express an interest in fostering, your suitability to care for children/young people will be assessed. It is a thorough process which is necessary to ensure the safety and welfare of any child/young person in your care. Many applicants find the assessment experience very helpful in understanding their strengths and skills as carers.
A social worker from the Fostering Company will visit you in your home to discuss fostering further and answer any questions you may have.
If you and the social worker both agree to continue with your application you will be invited to complete the pre approval course.
Once an application form has been received the social worker from the fostering team will commence the following checks:
- Enhanced DBS checks for all adults in the household (over 18)
- Full medical completed by your own GP
The purpose of the medical is to ensure that you are healthy and fit to look after a child / young person and also to ensure that you would not be putting your own health at risk. If you have a medical condition that is reviewed by a consultant we will ask for a report. The cost of the medical is covered by the Fostering Company.
You will be asked to nominate three referees who are not related to you and who have agreed to give you a reference. Your referees will be asked to complete a written reference and will also be interviewed face to face by the social worker completing your assessment. It is important that you speak to your referees to make sure they are willing to do this and that they will speak honestly about you.
- Health and Safety checklist
This checklist is completed at this early stage to ensure there are no obvious risks within your home eg. a child in foster care cannot sleep in a bedroom that is an attic conversion for which you did not obtain proper planning permission and building control approval. Any other obvious hazards will be highlighted to you to ensure the safety of the child/young person in your care.
There are some other checks that we will ask for if they apply to you:
- In the event you are not the home owner you will need to inform the owner of the property of your intention to foster. It will also be necessary to reflect this in your home insurance documentation if you become a foster carer.
- If you are a parent and have pre school age children we will ask your health visitor for a report.
If you have had involvement with social services the social worker will explore the circumstances surrounding this and the implications for you in your role as a foster carer will be explored.
A social worker from the fostering team will complete a detailed assessment on you and your family. It is important that you talk openly and honestly to the social worker about your life and family during this assessment process.
If you have been in a previous relationship and there are children from that relationship we will wish to speak to your ex partner and your children even if they do not live with you.
Some additional checks may need to be made throughout the process.
The assessment usually takes up to six months from when it begins to presentation at the Fostering Panel. You will have the opportunity to read the assessment to check for factual accuracy. There is a section in the report for you to make comments about how you found the assessment and whether or not you agree with the social worker’s assessment of you and your family.
Throughout the assessment the social worker will also spend some time talking to your children to ensure that they understand how fostering will affect them and also answer any questions they may have.
You are free to withdraw from the process at any time.
There may be things arising from your assessment that the social worker feels need to be discussed with their line manager. Sometimes the social worker and line manager will bring concerns to the Fostering Panel for discussion and advice. You will be kept fully informed throughout the process.
The completed assessment is brought to the Fostering Company Fostering Panel for approval. You will have an opportunity to attend the Panel. The Panel is made up of independent professionals and an experienced foster carer. The Panel considers your assessment and makes the decision whether to recommend approval of you as a Fostering Company foster carer. Your approval as a foster carer is reviewed every year.
Now that you have read the information on fostering, we suggest that you take some time to think seriously about whether fostering is right for you.
Discuss it with your family and friends and see if they would support you in an application.
If you wish to proceed with your interest in fostering please contact the Fostering Company by registering your interest, or calling 0191 268 6888 and a social worker from the fostering recruitment team will contact you.
Thank you for your interest.