Fostering requires the right kind of person. We need to know you have the right kind of skills, experience and knowledge to support a child or young person. In order for us to identify carers that are able to provide the necessary care, we have a thorough approval process that takes at least 6 months. To help you get started, we’ve identified 15 key steps in the foster care approval process that will take you from the first enquiry to profile matching.
1. Let Us Know You Want To Become A Foster Carer
This may seem like an obvious step but it is an important one - Once you have decided that you are interested in fostering, whether that is at one of our NFA events or through independent research, you need to let us know you want to take it to the next level.
2. We Wil Contact You
Our Carer Recruitment Officer will contact you by telephone to have a talk about fostering. We will cover topics like what it is and also what it would mean to become a foster carer with NFA. You will also be able to ask any questions you may have about becoming a foster carer.
3. Are You the Right Person?
During the phone conversation, the Carer Recruitment Officer will establish whether you meet our criteria to be a foster carer. If you are eligible, we will arrange to meet you and send you a pack with further information about fostering.
4. We Meet and Discuss The Process
The Carer Recruitment Officer will arrange a visit from a qualified social worker who will come to your home. They will meet you and your family and talk to you further about the fostering process. Keep in mind that every child or young person that you foster will need their own bedroom and so they will also look at the spare room that you are thinking of using.
5. Social Worker Recommendations to Regional Manager
Following the visit to your home from the social worker, they will make recommendations to a Regional Manager as to whether you and your family meet our criteria to become foster carers.
6. Is Everybody Happy?
Once you, the Social Worker, and the NFA Regional Manager are happy, we move forward to the actual assessment.
7. Fill Out Application Form to Formally Register
Before we proceed any further, you need to formally register your interest. If you are not sure how to do this, inside your welcome pack you will find an application form which you need to fill in in order to formally register your interest.
8. Assessor Allocation
Once the application form has been received by the NFA you will be allocated an assessor, a highly-skilled and experienced social worker, to conduct a comprehensive assessment of you and your family.
9. Home Visits During The Assessment
During the assessment, the assessor will visit you at home on a number of occasions and help you complete your ‘Form F’ which includes:
- your background
- current and previous relationships
- children in the household
- details of your family life, support network
- parenting capacity
- financial overview
The Form F will require full involvement from your whole family as it will assess your ability to become a foster carer.
10. Provision of Referees So We Can Get to Know You Better
As part of the assessment, you will need to provide the names of three referees who we can contact. We ask for this as it gives us a better idea of how you interact with other people and respond to responsibilities or your environment. Most importantly, we want to hear from non-family members why they think you would make a great foster carer.
11. NFA Check
We need to make sure all NFA foster carers are thoroughly checked out which is why we will conduct a series of checks which include:
- an enhanced DBS check
- local authority checks
- medical reports
- risk assessment of your home
- references from your current employer
- overseas checks if necessary
12. ‘Skills to Foster’ Course
As part of the assessment, you will attend a three-day “Skills to Foster” course. This is a fantastic introduction to what fostering means.
13. Fostering Panel and Outcome
Once Form F is completed and returned, then checked by Quality Assurance, it is presented at the panel. You will be invited to attend along with your assessor and will be advised of the outcome.
14. Post-Approval Home Visit
On approval, your supervising social worker will visit to go through our welcome pack with you and ask you to sign the relevant paperwork.
15. Profile Matching
The placement team will then start to match your profile alongside the children who are referred to NFA and we will discuss any suitable matches with you.
If you'd like to hear from others who have gone through this process, read some of our case studies to hear more about what it is like to be a foster carer as this will give you a good idea of the highs and lows in store!