Can I foster?
Fostering Ltd is an inclusive agency and we are looking to recruit carers from all backgrounds who have something to offer to local children. There a few requirements that you will need to meet including:
- Aged 21 or over
- Have a spare bedroom that can be used solely for fostering
- To be a British citizen or have the right to live in the UK
- Have life experience that can be used to support young people
- Be committed to building relationships with birth families of young people
- Have patience, commitment and a sense of humour
- An ability to work in partnership with different professionals
- A commitment to attend ongoing training and learning
- A real interest in helping children and young people with difficulties
Quite simply, there is no ‘ideal type’ of foster carer/s; each individual will have their own experience and skill base that can be used to support young people. We want our service to be individual and celebrate diversity; our children come from a wide range of backgrounds so we think our carers should too. Whether you are male or female, in a relationship or single, heterosexual or gay, parents or not, we want to hear from you if you are interested in finding out more about Fostering Ltd.
How do I become a foster carer?
Once you have decided that you would like to become a Foster Carer/s, the whole process usually takes approximately four to six months from your initial enquiry to approval. Everyone’s assessment will be different as each family is different but everyone should expect to follow the process below:
When you call us you will have a conversation with one of our Supervising Social Workers who will ask a few key questions which will help you and us to decide if fostering is the right career for you and if it is the right time to peruse this. This chat is a no obligation conversation for advice and information only. There will be pressure for you into making a decision.
There will then be a visit by one of our Supervising Social workers who will visit you in your home. We will talk to you about Fostering Ltd, our child care ethos and the type of carers we are looking for. This will also give you an opportunity to ask any further questions and help you decide if fostering is right for you and your family at this time.
If it is agreed that pursuing a fostering carer is right for you, the Supervising Social worker will give you an application form for you to complete. This is a detailed application that asks for information on you, your partner and/or any other people living in your household. Once the application form is completed it will be considered by the Fostering Ltd team and you will receive a decision on whether it is being progressed within 3 working days.
If your application is accepted, the Assessor allocated to you will come and visit you, your partner (if you are in a relationship) and your family and household members. There will be approximately 8 visits in total, taking place every couple of weeks, working around your availability. During these visits, a detailed picture of your family life, childcare experiences, views and understanding of the fostering task is compiled into a report. All household members will be involved in this assessment and we will also ask you to provide two personal references.
It is a statutory requirement to request background checks. This includes checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service, NSPCC, Local Authority and other agencies alongside a medical check and a home Health and Safety assessment. The office manager will be responsible for processing your checks and will keep you updated at every stage.
During your assessment you will be invited to attend training with the agency; this will give you the opportunity to meet other applicants, foster carer/s and trainers who can answer your questions from real experience. It will also ensure you understand the post-approval training requirements for the role. In addition, you will be asked to attend a pre-approval course called Skills to Foster. Details of this are found in the Training section further down.
All Local Authority and Independent Foster Carers have to attend a meeting called an Approval Panel before becoming an approved foster carer. This is where the report that has been written about you and your family is presented to a panel of between five and seven people who will make a recommendation to Fostering Ltd about whether to approve your application or not. You will have read the report yourself before this meeting and then have the opportunity to feedback on this. Our current panel is made up of people independent of Fostering LTD who come from different backgrounds; we have a Social Worker, SEN Teacher, Health Visitor, Youth Worker, Civil Servant, Foster Carer and a residential care home worker. You will be required to attend this panel meeting where you will be asked some final questions. The Panel will make a recommendation to us based on the assessment and the Panel meeting.
Approved Foster Carer
Once panel has made a recommendation to approve or not, this is then passed to our Agency Decision Maker who will consider panel's recommendation and make the final decision. You will then be informed of this decision within 7 days.