How to become a Foster Parent
Deciding to become a Foster Parent is not a decision to be taken lightly and we encourage you to think long and hard about whether choosing a career in fostering is right for you and your family. We recommend you spend time researching exactly what a Foster Parents does and the types of challenges that you may face on a day to day basis. Our ‘Virtual Information Events’ where you can chat with our team and current Foster Parents may of interest to you.
Fostering can be extremely rewarding; enabling you to work from home whilst making a difference to a child’s life but it can also be very demanding. Nonetheless, you can foster regardless of your ethnicity, marital status, religion, gender, sexuality or living status and be confident that we’ll be here to support you every step of the way.
We make the process as open and transparent as possible to allow you to make an informed decision about becoming a Foster Parent with us. You’ll go through six stages in your journey to becoming a Foster Parent which on average, can take between 4 to 6 months depending on your individual circumstances. This may seem like a long time but it is imperative that all crucial checks and assessments have taken place and that you’re provided with all of the relevant information you need so you know exactly what to expect.
Many of our team have Fostered themselves so can provide you with honest and frank advice during the process whilst we get to know you and your family and consider the best types of Fostering for you.
Step One: Get in contact with our Fostering Team
Once you've completed our short, online contact form here, we'll give you a call at a suitable time to you for an informal chat. This gives us the opportunity to find out a little more about you and vice versa. We'll answer any questions you may have in regards to Fostering or about us as an independent organisation and invite you to a local information evening to find out even more.
Step Two: Attend a Fostering information evening
These are held regularly and locally to you (a couple of times a month) and will provide you with a lot more detailed information about Fostering with us. The team that present these sessions are friendly, knowledgeable and have even Fostered themselves so they really know what they're talking about. We'll discuss the Fostering process with you, the support, training and pay you'll receive and you'll be able to ask us any questions you may have. We'll explain our unique Therapeutic Fostering approach, and most importantly, help you to decide whether fostering is right for you.
Step three: Apply to Foster
If you’d like to proceed and think you’d be able to Foster, you will be able to take an application form away with you from the information evening. There is a lot of information that we need to gather from you by law, and some information we need to understand to allow us to decide if you are suited to Fostering. Your application will be kept confidential and reviewed to ensure that you meet all initial criteria to Foster.
Step four: Attend our Skills to Foster training
Once we have received your application form, and feel that you meet the initial criteria to Foster, we’ll then invite you to our initial two day training course to introduce you to Fostering. This is where we really get to know you and is the start of your assessment process. Our trainers are understanding and approachable and welcome any further questions and concerns you may have about your application or the Fostering process. If you’re applying as a couple, we ask that you both attend this training and not just the main Foster Parent.
Step five: Fostering assessment
You will then be appointed an Independent Social Worker (ISW) who will carry out your Fostering assessment – and submit this assessment to Fostering Panel for discussion and approval. This will involve around six visits to your home where they will produce a report which will help us and the Local Authorities successfully match a child to you. Whilst your assessment is underway we begin further checks, such as a DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service), personal and professional references which are necessary to ensure that vulnerable children are entrusted to the care of people who are safe and secure.
Step six: Approval & first Foster child
The final stage of the application is where your assessment report is presented to our independent Fostering panel. The panel consists of independent people with Fostering, education and social care backgrounds.
Applicants will be invited to the panel meeting, which usually takes around 1-2 hours, and be asked questions about the ISW's assessment report, yourselves, your experience and why you want to Foster. Panel members will then make a recommendation to us on your suitability as a Foster Parent.
It is then up to our Decision Maker who will make the final decision regarding your approval. It is very unlikely that applicants are not successful if they have been put forward to panel.
Once approved, you will then be ready to Foster and look after a child or young person. Your dedicated local Link Worker will then be in contact to talk through matching you with your first child.
For more information, contact us here to speak to our experienced team.