When you are ready, contact us to arrange an initial visit. An initial visit to your home should be arranged with you and all your family members. It's much better to have all the family at the meeting so that you can all ask questions and find out more. The visit enables us to make an initial assessment of your situation to ensure that there is every chance of success for you, your family and any child or young person that you foster.
Fostering will affect everyone and so needs to be a joint decision.
Following the initial home visit by the social worker, if you decide that you would like to become a foster carer, we wish you to know that at any point during the assessment process, you are free to withdraw. We would encourage you to discuss this with your social worker first, as there may be alternative options available to you depending on your reasons.
There are no set timescales, but to give you a rough idea, we anticipate that most assessments will take between 3-6 months to become a foster carer. We advise our social workers that are undertaking assessments, that they should aim to visit each fortnight for approximately two hours. You can expect around 6-10 visits during this time.
All the personal data collected during the assessment process is treated with the utmost security and confidentiality.
Once your social worker has completed the assessment report, you will be asked to read it and sign it if you are happy with the contents. If you dispute any points in their report, you can talk to them before you sign. If the disagreement cannot be resolved, you can write your comments about your disagreement and send them to the panel with the report.
The panel consists of people with a wide range of knowledge of fostering and childcare. It is their duty to decide whether to recommend an applicant for approval. You are invited to attend the panel meeting and take part in the discussion. The panel will question the social worker about the report.
The panel will make its recommendation based upon the National Standards of Foster Care. The recommendation is then referred to the agency’s decision maker. They will make the final decision based upon the fostering Approval Panel’s recommendation. Once the decision is made you will be notified of the outcome of your application.
Once you are approved and have signed the Foster Care Agreement, we will begin looking for a child (or children) to place with you. We aim to place children with foster carers who can best meet their needs and reflect their racial and cultural heritage where possible.
We encourage an introductory period for every child where possible so that he/she can meet the proposed foster carer on several occasions before moving in.
We will offer you a high level of support and guidance during your first placement, to ensure that you feel as comfortable and confident as possible.