Becoming A Foster Carer | Foster Care Fortnight
BECOMING A FOSTER CARER
If you’ve clicked on this article then it probably means you’ve thought long and hard about becoming a foster carer. You will have talked to your family and friends to seek their support and endorsement. Well done! Reaching this milestone is significant and you are already on your way to making a difference to young people’s lives.
Below, we have described our process for approving foster carers. Each agency or local authority may approach it in a slightly different way. Broadly, though, all will follow the same degree of diligent checking to select the right foster carers.
I THINK I WANT TO BE A FOSTER CARER. WHAT NEXT?
Get in touch with a local Fostering Agency (like Lorimer Fostering!) or your local council to start the process of becoming a foster carer.
THEN, GET TALKING…
You will talk to someone informally in the first instance about your desire to be a foster carer. This conversation will help set the scene and provide an overview of the application and assessment process. As you would expect, the decision to foster is a big one, and the priority is to ensure young people are placed in the right setting for them. So in total, the entire assessment process often takes up to 6 months. But please don’t be put off by this! It is important for you, for the fostering service you choose to work with and most importantly for the child that thorough checks and reviews are carried out.
So… after your initial chat you will receive a home visit from a member of Lorimer’s team. This would build on your first informal discussion and will provide you a more detailed opportunity to talk about your application to be a foster carer and what happens next.
START WRITING. AND KEEP TALKING…
If you and our team are happy to continue, then you will begin to progress with what’s called the “Form F Assessment”. This is a lengthy, time consuming process that can sometimes be emotionally absorbing. Overall, it can take around 4 months to complete the Form F from start to finish. The assessment will review your suitability to foster in every aspect, looking at your current situation, your childhood and your background to help arrive at a recommendation.
Whilst this is happening, our team will also be making checks in the following areas:
– an Enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service)
– medical references
– statutory checks with your local authority
– ex-partner checks (where relevant).
YOU’RE NEARLY THERE…
When your Form F assessment is complete, the Form F Assessor will present your case to an Independent Fostering Panel (at our office in Sale). Here, they will review your application and you will be invited to meet the team for a detailed discussion. The Fostering Panel is an experienced team who represent a mix of genders, backgrounds, religions, races and languages. It is their job, based on all the materials provided, to determine if you are ready to be a foster carer. After the lengthy application and assessment process, this meeting represents the final ‘hurdle’ and it can feel overwhelming, but you will always be fully supported by your Assessing Social Worker each step of the way.
If you are approved, then VERY WELL DONE! You have become an Approved Foster Carer and will be matched with the right child at the right time. Yes, it may have took a little time to get there, but it was worth it. And hey, what is 6 months in the broader context of a child’s life and the difference you will make to their early years?!
GET IN TOUCH!
Hopefully, now you have read this article, you understand the process of becoming a foster carer. If you think you can help break the cycle and make a commitment to a child or young person then you can either submit your details here and we will call you back, or, alternatively contact us on (freephone) 0800 038 7799.