Before you join our family, you’ll need to be approved by our fostering panel.
It’s a local meeting where our staff and some independent panel members will consider your assessment and make a recommendation regarding your approval as a foster carer.
What happens at panel?
Your fostering panel will take place at an office near you. There’ll be about eight or nine people involved and they’ll sit down together to look through your Form F and discuss the best types of fostering placement for you. You’ll sit with the team for a while to discuss your fostering journey and answer a few questions.
At the meeting, you’re encouraged to share your views and talk about your expectations. You won’t be on your own either; your assessing social worker will be there to fully support you on the day.
How long will it take?
Panel meetings only take about an hour and you’re often informed of their recommendation there and then. An FCA Manager will make the final decision, so you can expect to be informed up to a week after.
Sometimes the panel may recommend that you need a little more time to prepare for fostering. If this happens, we’ll work with you to provide additional pre-approval training and support to help you begin your fostering journey.
What happens once I’m approved?
Once you’re approved, you’re legally able to foster a child or young person.
You’ll be asked to sign a Foster Carer Agreement, before being allocated a supervising social worker who’ll guide you through the next stage of your journey.
When will I get my first placement?
The time you have to wait before getting your first placement is different for every carer and family.
It depends on your personal circumstances and how soon we can find a placement that’s right for you and the child or young person. We receive referrals from local authorities every day and, because we have contracts with over 90% of local authorities, you might not be waiting as long as you think.
You’ll have regular contact with your supervising social worker who’ll discuss with you in detail the needs of the young person before they are placed with you and answer all your questions. Wherever possible, your social worker will arrange for you to meet the child before they are placed. As the foster carer’s carer, we want to make this transition as smooth as possible for you and your family.
To find out more about fostering panel and what to expect, give us a call on 0800 434 6000 or send us a message online.