How to become a Foster Carer

Applying to foster children:

The Enquiry, Application and Assessment process with i-want-to-foster.com

Becoming a Foster Carer is not as difficult as you may have imagined – from the moment you express an interest in fostering (whether its’s full time or respite) we will guide you every step of the way.

Enquiry

1. Register your interest in/make an enquiry about fostering children

The first step you need to take is to contact us either by email, telephone or via our website contact form.

Watch our guide to how to become a foster parent for children

Watch our foster carers talk about their experience on our YouTube Channel:

We will get to know you

We will ask you some simple questions about your home, family, job and determine whether you have a spare bedroom for a foster child and why you are interested in fostering.  If you meet our basic criteria you can continue with your enquiry…

“I have now been fostering since February of this year, and at times have found it very challenging and stressful, but the good times have by far outweighed the bad. When I took on this job I knew it was something I have always wanted to do”.

Mr J – Foster Carer for two years

2. Let’s meet to discuss fostering children

One of our Fostering Team will then call to arrange a mutually convenient time to come and meet with you (and your partner/children, if appropriate) at your home.  They will talk about the fostering process, the support we offer and let you show them around your home.  Our Fostering Manager or a Supervising Social Worker will then assess the information gathered at this visit and if you are suitable, you will be invited to the next step in the process…

4. Practical training for fostering

Every individual and couple who applies to foster children must attend our Skills to Foster introduction to fostering sessions. After attending these sessions, you can then decide if you wish to continue your journey with us…

Application

5.Time to apply to foster

Your application form is accepted and the process continues

Enquire about fostering children today

6. Safety checks to become a Foster Carer

It’s important for everyone’s safety that our Foster Carers undergo all the standard checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), Local Authority, NSPCC and that references are taken up (at least two for each person).

You will also need to have a medical with your own doctor – we will pay the costs for this report.

Assessment

7. Fostering suitability assessment

You will be allocated a Social Worker, who will visit you over a period of about 12 weeks to learn first hand about your potential fostering skills.

During these visits, the Social Worker will learn more about your own background and your experience of being parented. You will also talk about your education and past employment, as well as your views on parenting children.

If you have children of your own, the social worker will also seek their views on fostering. We will also establish if you wish to be a Full Time or a Respite Carer.

8. Approval to become a foster carer

Once the Social Worker has got to know you and and your family, they will complete an Assessment Report, which you will be able to read and correct any inaccuracies.

This report will then be submitted to a Fostering Panel consisting of a mix of Foster Carers, Supervising Social Workers and other relevant personnel.  There will normally be about 6 people on this Panel and you will be invited to attend, along with your Social Worker, to answer any questions that they may wish to ask.

It is important to remember that you are not on trial!  You will be treated with dignity and respect and your Social Worker will be present to support you.

You will be given the Panel’s recommendation after a few minutes’ wait and, as long as your application to become a foster carer is agreed by the Agency Decision Maker, you will be informed of what age group of child you’ll be able to foster – and whether you can foster girls, boys or both.

For full details of the guidance and regulations pertaining to the assessment and approval of Foster Carers, please search “DFE assessment of foster carers”.

After you have been approved

9. Fostering your first child

Once you have become an approved Foster Carer, we will consider any referrals for children who may be suitable for you to look after. This could take a few weeks or even months, but we always try to match a child who is likely to thrive in your family environment. During this time it might be possible for you to provide respite for another Foster Carer.

10. Keeping your skills fresh

As an approved Foster Carer, you will need to take part in core training which takes place over a selection of dates throughout the year. This is to help you develop your skills in areas such as contact with families, education, health, behaviour and attachment theory.

Enquire about fostering today