Did you know that FosterTalk works in partnership with over 80 Fostering Service Providers supporting over 10,000 foster families in the UK?
When you are ready, ask for a visit from the Fostering Service Providers you feel most positive about. An ‘initial visit’ to your home should be arranged with you and all your family members. It's much better to have all the family at the meeting so that you can all ask questions and find out more.
Fostering will affect everyone and so needs to be a joint decision.
The ‘initial visit’ also enables the Fostering Service Providers to make an initial assessment of your situation to ensure that there is every chance of success for you, your family and any child or young person that you foster.
Pay close attention to the amount of training and support that you and all members of your household will receive. Fostering a child or young person can present new challenges so you and your family will need professional support as well as training.
Check out the amount of money you will receive for looking after the children or young people. All Fostering Service Providers should provide a national minimum amount as a ‘boarding out allowance’ for looking after the children or young people and many will provide a reward element for your time and effort.
You should be offered preparation training, which will provide you with the basic skills and knowledge to enable you to foster. Make sure that you feel the preparation training offered will provide enough time and information to help you feel confident and competent to start fostering.
Most Fostering Service Providers should expect you to have completed the preparation training before starting the assessment process. All potential Foster Carers should go through a thorough and effective assessment process that collates information about family histories, support networks and references, as well as identifying strengths and areas for improvement. Assessment should also include checks with the Criminal Records Bureau, NSPCC, Probation Service, your child’s school (where relevant) and your general practitioner for a health assessment.
The assessment process may take three months or more. It will be done by a qualified Social Worker. The Social Worker will visit on a regular basis and meet with you and all the key members of your family. Again, it's really important that the assessment is undertaken in a time frame that meets your and your family’s needs. Don’t be pressurised to complete it if you don’t feel ready. Ask for more time if you need it or less if you feel the process is dragging on.
Once the assessment report is completed it will be presented to the Fostering Service Provider’s fostering panel. You will be invited to attend the panel so that you can answer any questions panel members may have. The members of the fostering panel will make a recommendation to the agency decision maker about whether or not you should be approved as a Foster Carer, for what age range of children and young people, the gender of the children and young people and the type of fostering i.e. respite, bridging, short term or long term.
The agency decision maker will then consider the panel’s recommendation and make a decision about your approval. You should be notified very soon after the panel meets, but not necessarily on the same day. You should receive a certificate of approval which should identify the approval categories as outlined above.
You are then an approved Foster Carer and you can take your first placement!
If you can’t find an answer to your query on this website, there are a number of other avenues you might like to explore, such as;
FosterTalk Limited, Registered Company in England and Wales
10 The Courtyard, Buntsford Gate, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, B60 3DJ
Registered Company Number: 06318354