We aim to make our enquiry and fostering application process for foster care as easy as possible, to give you peace of mind and ensure you know what is happening every step of the way.
Once we’ve had an initial chat to you over the phone, we will establish if it’s the right time for one of our fostering advisers to visit you at home. This is a great opportunity for us to get to know one another a little better.
Your fostering adviser will answer all your questions. They’ll explain what becoming a foster carer involves, the different types of placements available and the next steps you’ll take on your journey.
Making an application
Your fostering advisor will write a report from the information you share. This will be considered by a social worker, who will decide on the next steps. If appropriate, you’ll be invited to apply. This means completing an application form and giving your consent for use to obtain statutory checks and references.
What’s a fostering assessment?
Following your application, we’ll undertake a fostering assessment. This will help us to identify what individual skills and qualities you’ll bring to the role.
Your assessing social worker will visit you and your family at home a number of times over a few months to speak to you and collect information about you and your life.
Your assessor will talk to you about your childhood and past relationships, work history, health, family and personal interests. They’ll help you to identify your support network and carry out checks, such as a home safety check and pet questionnaire. They’ll also visit family members or friends who you’ve nominated as referees. All of this information will be detailed in a document called a Form F.
During this time, you’ll also attend our Journey to Foster training. This is a pre-approval course designed to help you find out more about fostering It’s a great opportunity to speak to people who are already fostering, get a real insight into what you’ll be doing and meet other potential carers from your local area.
What references and checks will you carry out?
As part of the application process, we’ll carry out a number of references and checks. These include:
- Disclosure and barring service (formally CRB) checks on anyone in the house over the age of 16 (except in Scotland)
- Local authority residency checks for the last ten years
- Ex-partner checks (with your permission)
- A medical report from your GP
- Written references from at least three personal referees
- Educational references for any children in the home
- Evidence of citizenship
- References from previous employers or foster care agencies
- Enquiries to local authorities and their child protection records (including previous involvement with services for children or vulnerable adults)
- A full safety check on your home including pets.
After completing the Form F, your assessor will help you prepare for the fostering panel. This is a group of fostering professionals who will consider your assessment and make a recommendation regarding your approval as a foster carer. After panel, you’ll be an approved foster carer and can begin to make a real difference to vulnerable children’s lives.
The process from beginning to end can take between 4 – 6 months and our foster care professionals will be there to make it as easy as possible.
To find out more about the application process or to take the first step on your fostering journey, call us on 0800 434 6000 and our fostering advisors will be happy to help.
Alternatively, you can complete our short enquiry form in the left hand column of this page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.