Becoming a foster carer takes approximately 6 months. The process can seem daunting. It includes preparation, training, medicals, references, home study and assessment, which all help to ensure we find carers who meet the needs of children in our care.
You'll be sent an information pack and a social worker will visit you at home to provide more information and discuss whether fostering is right for you. We will also tell you how we will assess you and what training is available.
You'll be invited to attend a preparation training course with other people who are interested in becoming foster carers. These meetings are an essential part of preparing you to be a foster carer and will help you understand more about the needs of the young people who need to be fostered. Preparation training takes place over 4 sessions.
If you want to proceed, you will need to complete an application form so you can be assessed. You'll be assigned a social worker and we'll start our assessment, which takes between 4 and 6 months. It will involve:
- your social worker visiting you at home to talk to you and your family
- discussing personal histories, your ability to care for children, and what strengths you can bring to fostering
- attending a medical with your own doctor
- providing 3 personal references
- giving consent for a number of statutory checks to be undertaken, including with your employer and the police
Your social worker will write a report that says how suitable you are to become a foster carer. You have the right to see all of the report, apart from the confidential personal references.
Your report will be presented to the 'fostering panel', made up of people who have a personal or professional connection with fostering, such as foster carers, teachers, social workers and other independent people.
The panel will recommend whether you should be approved as a foster carer. The final decision will be made by a senior Children's Services Manager and you will receive confirmation in writing.
Once you are approved as a foster carer a social worker will tell you about the children who need to be fostered.