Get in touch
If you want to know more about fostering, get in touch either by calling us or submitting our online enquiry form. We will have a chat over the phone to answer your questions and talk to you about your current situation. We regularly hold information sessions which you can also attend so that you can meet some of our friendly staff as well as meeting some of our fantastic foster carers so that you can hear from them too. It’s a great way to find out more about fostering over a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
After we’ve had a chat about your background and if appropriate, we will arrange a home visit. We will ask you if you would like us to bring one of foster carers along to meet and answer your questions. Many people really find this useful. On the home visit, we will talk about your background, skills and experience and your reasons for wanting to become a foster carer. We will also have a look at your living space to see what space you have available for a child. After the home visit, we will give you time to consider if you want to continue whilst we think about what you can offer a child. If we both think that fostering is for you, we will send you an application form. We will advise you of the decision in writing.
Fill in an application form
We will ask you to complete an application form, giving us permission to undertake a number of checks and references. Once this is returned to us, your assessment will begin. You will be asked to have a medical examination completed by your GP, and we will need at least two personal references and a health and safety check of your home. We will carry out checks with the Disclosures and Barring Service, Social Services, Housing and Education. As intimidating as this may sound, it’s important to remember that our first responsibility is to ensure that the children in our care are safe. This is referred to as Stage One. You will be given the opportunity to‘buddy up with one of our existing foster carers to help support you through the process should you want help.
Stage 1 - your assessment starts
You will be allocated a social worker to carry out your assessment. This social worker will be responsible for your Assessment Report and will answer any questions that you may have throughout the process. Stage 1 should take no more than 2 months and your social worker will regularly check in with you to offer support and guidance throughout this time.
Stage 2 - your assessment is completed
During your assessment, your social worker will carry out a number of home visits in order to complete your assessment report. You will also be asked to attend preparation training. Once your key checks are in, your social worker will start the Stage 2 assessment and will visit you and your family regularly over a period of three to four months in order to help you prepare for fostering and complete an Assessment Report. As part of the Assessment, you will be asked to attend preparation training where you will meet other people who are also being assessed. The social worker will write a report recommending whether you should or should not become an approved foster carer. You will have the opportunity to read the report and say whether you agree with it.
Attending fostering panel
Your social worker will fully prepare you for attending fostering panel. The fostering panel is chaired independently. It is made up of social care representatives, a medical adviser, a legal adviser and independent people such as previous foster carers and adults who have been fostered. Attending panel can sometimes be daunting for applicants but you needn’t worry, you will be fully supported throughout. The social worker will write a report recommending whether you should or should not become an approved foster carer. You will have the opportunity to read the report and say whether you agree with it.
Once you are approved, you will be allocated a supporting social worker from our team. They will help you settle into your new role and help guide you with your first placement with a foster child and beyond.