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Become a foster carer

The journey to becoming a foster carer is one of discovery, learning, friendships and support. The fostering assessment process is full of detail so it takes time and patience, something we look for in all our prospective carers.

It's our job to make sure you can offer a child a safe, supportive home. This means we ask lots of questions and get to know you very well. It's nothing to worry about, our team are friendly and supportive from the very first enquiry.

So, would you like to take a look at the path to becoming a foster carer? Here's a step-by-step guide to this amazing journey.

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1. Chat to our enquiry team

If you're interested in learning about how to become a foster carer your first step is to chat to us. Fostering Solutions answer any questions you have straight away, helping you decide if fostering if really for you. If you have any questions to ask about fostering, this is the time to ask.

I found the staff to be extremely helpful, supportive and I felt at ease straight away. I had many questions and they were answered with care and sensitivity.

Rachael - Approved 2012
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2. Ready to proceed? - The home visit

Following your chat with us, we will pop round for a visit. We will discuss what comes next in the process and hopefully begin to collect some basic information for your application.

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3. The Application form & Assessment begins

If all goes well with your visit, you will be asked to complete an application form. If this is successful, we will assign you a social worker who will start your assessment. They will visit your home a few times, (usually around 8-10 times), to gather information about you and your family. This information will go towards your Form F - a document that outlines your case for becoming a foster parent. It's a two-way process, and your social worker is there to help you not to judge you. Ask questions and use this time to learn as much as you can about fostering.

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4. Assessment

The assessment process can last 4-8 months and is split into various stages. From checks to interviews, this is an important stage in your fostering journey. The first stage is all about gathering references and running through medical, financial and safety checks.

The second stage involves further checks, and looks at your suitability for certain types of fostering (such as experiences with vulnerable people, children with disabilities etc). At this stage, your fostering Panel date is set. This is the date when your Form F will be discussed with our Fostering Panel to help make the big decision.

I was able to reflect on the past and by thinking about my life I was able to learn things & I enjoyed every bit of the assessment

Barbara - Approved 2008
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5. Skills to Foster course

While various checks and assessments are being undertaken, we invite you to our Skills to Foster course. This is a three day programme designed to help you in becoming a foster carer, by introducing you to other potential carers and, teaching you the necessary skills needed for fostering in time for your new role. It's as fun as it is informative and offers you a real insight into what lies ahead as a foster carer. This is part of the assessment process and the feedback our course leaders give us goes towards the success of your assessment.

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6. Assessment report complete, Panel meeting

With your assessment form complete, your Form F and check outcomes are presented to the Fostering Panel. This panel consists of various independent people with fostering, education and care backgrounds. Your panel meeting will take place at your local Fostering Solutions office, it can be a nervous time but your Assessing Social Worker will be right by your side. The panel members will ask questions about the report and gauge your suitability as a foster parent.

Obviously, before panel we were anxious about what to expect but we need not have worried, everyone at panel were lovely and just everyday people like ourselves

Phil & Elaine - Approved 2014
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7. Approval

The Panel will consider your assessment and then make a recommendation about your approval as a foster carer. The final decision is made by the Agency's decision maker.

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8. First placement

Congratulations! If you've made it to this stage you are now a fully fledged foster carer! Now comes the journey of a lifetime, your career in foster care.
Our team continue to support you throughout your career helping you with every single placement and being a constant source of guidance and advice.

As I opened the front door, I saw a little pair of shoes in the hallway and straight away all my anxieties melted away – I knew then it wasn’t about me anymore but making sure he was happy in our home

Claire - Approved 2006
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Ready to enquire?