SOME INFO TO GET YOU STARTED
WHAT IS FOSTERING?
Fostering is the provision of approved carers to care for children and young people from age 0 – 18yrs. Young people who, for various reasons are unable to live with their birth families. This may be in an emergency for a few nights, to longer periods; even up to their independence and beyond in some circumstances. Fostering differs from adoption in that in adoption cases, the legal rights in relation to parental responsibility are transferred to the adoptive parents.
FOSTERING WITH US
Foster Carers come from all walks of life, ethnic backgrounds and religious groups. What they all have in common is a desire to make a positive impact on the lives of children in need. Some Foster Carers own their own home and others live in secure rented accommodation.If you can provide a child with their own bedroom; include a child into your family; support a child’s emotional and social development and protect a child from harm, then we want to hear from you.
The process for becoming an approved Foster Carer is not quick and can be very involved. We can guide you through all the stages to help ensure fostering is right for you.From the point of our first contact with would be fosterers, we aim to support, inform, and value our carers throughout our relationship.
You will need to be:
TYPES OF FOSTERING
OUR FOSTERING PROCESS
The Initial Enquiry
When we receive your enquiry, whether by telephone or email, you will find us friendly, helpful and supportive. We will chat with you to find out if you meet the basic criteria (see who can foster) and answer your questions about fostering. If you meet the basic criteria we will arrange for one of our qualified social workers to visit you and your family at home.
The purpose of this visit is to give you more detailed information about fostering with our Agency. This visit can last up to 2 hours as the social worker will need to carry out an initial assessment to help establish your suitability. You will be asked about your family, social network and experience of caring for children. The aim is to get a picture of your life, accommodation, experience and your reasons for considering fostering. You will also be required to provide documents to prove your residency and sign a consent form for us to undertake statutory checks and take up references.
This information is then discussed with the manager for a decision to proceed. You will be informed in writing of our decision and given the reasons if you are unsuccessful.
Our offer to process your application for assessment will be made subject to a medical report which we request your GP to complete. A DBS check, other statutory checks and references will also be taken.
You will be matched with a social worker to carry out your assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to work with you to review your suitability and compile this information in a report. The social worker will need to visit you a number of times over a course of 3 to 4 months and also interview other family members. During this time you will also be asked to attend an initial two or three day training course called “skills to foster”. Attending this course gives you the opportunity to meet other applicants and established foster carers where you can explore issues about fostering and child welfare.
As part of your assessment, we will get to know you by talking about your life experiences and your family background, including:
- Parenting capacity
- Relationships (past and present)
- Household composition
- Family values
- Support network
This information is presented in a report (BAFF form ‘F’ report) This, together with the results of all checks, references and medical reports will form your Assessment Portfolio and will then be presented to our Fostering Panel.
You and other significant family members will be required to attend the Panel meeting with the social worker who worked with you on your portfolio.
The Panel will be made up of at least five members, some of whom are independent of the agency. The Panel will ask you relevant questions arising from your portfolio.
The Panel will make a recommendation to the Agency on whether or not to approve. We will then inform you by telephone and in writing of our decision. If you are approved, we will introduce you to your own support social worker and start the process of matching you with children you might be able to care for.
The whole team is here to help and support you in your fostering journey.