Easily find out if fostering would be right for you and how to become approved to foster children
We want the people who enquire about fostering and who apply to us to foster to enjoy the process of finding out about fostering and the process of becoming approved. The feedback that we receive confirms that most people really do enjoy the journey.
It can be helpful to think about the process of becoming an approved foster carer as passing through three key stages, as set out below.
Stage 1. The initial enquiry stage
We have designed the initial enquiry stage to make it easy for prospective foster carers to find out all that they need to know before making any commitment. In this stage, people who are thinking about fostering can find out more and get all of their questions asked by:
- Requesting a FREE Fostering booklet and information pack
- Telephoning one of our recruitment advisers on (01993) 706925
- Requesting a call back to arrange a home visit
- Attending a local Drop-In Information meeting for coffee and a chat
- Attending a FREE Introductory Foster Care Training Workshop
Home visit by an fp.c social worker or foster carer
To progress your interest beyond the initial enquiry stage, one of our recruitment advisers will need to arrange to visit you at our home to answer any remaining questions that you have, to discuss what sort of fostering you would ideally like to do and how well your offer will match up with the need for foster carers in your area.
At the conclusion of this home visit, our recruitment adviser will leave an application form for you to complete to formally apply to foster, if you wish.
If you are still not sure if you wish to apply after this home visit ,and would like more information to help you to decide, we could arrange for you to meet one or more of our local foster carers, or to attend an introductory training event if you would find this helpful.
Stage 2. Completion of Statutory Checks
After we have received your completed application form, our recruitment adviser will contact you to discuss the next steps in the approval process which involves us taking up the range of statutory checks that are required by the Fostering Service Regulations.
During this statutory checks stage, we will:
- Take up references
- Arrange for each applicant to have a GP medical ( we pay the medical costs)
- Complete criminal records checks on each applicant and any other adult members of your household. (Please see our
frequently asked questions page for further details on this aspect of the process)
Stage 3. Submission of reports to Fostering Panel
During stage 3, one of our social workers will need to meet with each applicant several times to draft a report for presentation
to fostering panel. This report will set out in detail your individual backgrounds and personal and household circumstances,
the reasons why you wish to foster, your previous child care experience and make recommendations about your approval as foster
Where possible, and to avoid unnecessary delay, we may begin work on preparing this report prior to the completion of all of the stage 2 checks mentioned above.
Following completion, the completed "home study" report is presented to our fostering panel for consideration. Our fostering panel meets regularly. You will be invited to attend the meeting along with the social worker who wrote the report.
Our fostering panel is composed of a mixture of people who have experience of working with or caring for children in a wide range of settings e.g Education, Health and Fostering. Most of the panel members are independent from this agency. Although going to panel can seem daunting, in practice, it is very rare for panel to raise any questions that we have not already discussed in detail with you many times before, so there really is no need to worry!
The whole approval process takes about four months.