Becoming a Foster Carer – The Assessment Process
- Our social worker will visit you in your home.
- If you are intending to apply as a couple we will need to meet you both at that visit.
- The purpose of the initial visit is twofold. It gives you a chance to ask any questions that may have arisen from reading this information. We will also need to gather information about you and your household.
- The social worker will complete an Initial Assessment that will inform the decision as to whether or not Fostering is right for you.
Following this first visit, the social worker and their manager will make a decision as to whether or not to invite you to apply. If that is the case, the agency will take up several references and start the assessment – working with you at all times to complete an overview of your life and experiences relevant to caring for children.
When you select your personal and family referees, they need to be people who will be happy for us to write to them seeking their views on your suitability to foster; we will then follow this up by visiting them to confirm and expand on their written information.
We will also expect you to have a medical examination usually completed by your GP. We pay the fee.We make checks with CSSIW/ Ofsted, the Police (via Criminal Records Bureau) and with the Local Authorities that you have lived in plus a reference from your current employer and previous employers if you have worked with children. In order to do this we need your signed consent, which we will ask you to give at the first visit.
We do this so that if a formal application is progressed we can start the checks process as quickly as possible following the decision, usually within 48 office hours of the initial assessment. If no formal application is requested at this point we will destroy the consents and no checks or references will be pursued.
- After the initial visit.
Within 48 hours (Monday to Friday) you will be written to explaining our decision.
- If an application is requested we will send you a formal application document to sign, the reference checks will begin, and we will also ask you to start completing some background information about yourself/selves.
- Once we have received confirmation from the Disclosure and Barring Service that an assessment is appropriate and you have returned the application and your background details, you are on your way to joining our team and we will make appointments with you to complete the assessment.
- The assessment is a chance for you to reflect on how your life so far has prepared you for the role of providing foster or adoptive care, it will consist of usually six sessions of about two hours each with both of you if you are a couple and one additional session individually.
- You will be invited to attend mandatory training during the course of your assessment, which will give you the opportunity to explore some of the issues for children who come into our care, meet others who are at similar stage to you and to learn more about the process.
- Once all the information has been collated, including references and any medical reports, your social worker will prepare a report that you will have the opportunity to correct, and or comment on. The report will then be presented to a panel that you are invited to attend.
Panel members read all of the papers, question the social worker and may ask you some questions too, they then make a recommendation to a Responsible Individual for the agency who will decide if you are suitable to become foster carers.
- The entire process should be completed within 3-4 months and we will help you at all times. It really isn’t onerous or difficult if your motivation is right and you are prepared to work with us.