Becoming a Carer – How Does It Work?
Do you want to join our team of outstanding foster carers but you’re not sure where to start?
Whilst it is simple to apply, it can help to have some understanding of the process before you begin. Here you’ll discover everything you need to know about the application process and what to expect at each stage.
How long will it take?
One of the main questions people have before they apply is how long will the process take?
Many people are put off when they discover it can take up to eight months before the point of approval. So why does it take so long?
Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, it’s vital we ensure that every applicant is fully suitable to work with the vulnerable children who will be placed into their care. This includes ensuring you are fit to foster AND that you have received all the training and support you need from us before you begin.
Fostering is not something you can rush into, but at the end of the process, you’ll be fully prepared and hold all the skills and knowledge you need to become an amazing foster carer. We’re also on hand throughout each stage of the process to make it as simple and as transparent as possible.
What do I need to do?
There are a number of steps to becoming a foster carer including:
- Making your initial enquiry
- Receiving a home visit
- Completing the application forms
- Attending the Skills to Foster course and training
- Going through assessment
- Attending a panel meeting
- And finally… approval and your first placement
The first two steps are simple. First, you simply call us and have a brief chat over the phone. We will then arrange a home visit at a time that suits you where one of our full qualified, friendly team members will visit you for an informal chat. This allows us to get to know more about you and your individual circumstances. You’ll also be able to ask any questions you have about the process and what to expect when you’re approved.
Now, no one likes filling out forms, but not to fear as your dedicated social worker will be with you to help at every stage of the process. Your social worker will make a number of home visits to get to know you better and help you complete your “Form F” application document. This document outlines your suitability to become a foster carer.
The assessment is the longest part of the process, taking anything from four to eight months. It is split down into several stages and involves carrying out financial, health and background checks. As you go through the assessment process we will work with you to identify whether you would be suitable to care for more complex placements, such as fostering children with disabilities. Once the assessment is complete, we will arrange a panel meeting.
Before the panel meeting, you will attend our Skills to Foster course. This course will provide you with the skills required to be a great carer. It also gives you the opportunity to meet new and existing carers.
The panel meeting is designed to establish whether or not you will be approved. Your social worker will be present to support you, and you’ll meet with numerous professionals from care, educational and fostering backgrounds. The Form F application form that you completed, along with the results of background checks, will be shown to the panel and at this point you would be approved to become one of our wonderful foster carers.
Finally, if you’re approved you’ll be matched with your first placement.
We pride ourselves on the training and support that we offer to each one of our foster carers and this starts from the moment you pick up the phone to enquire. So whilst the process can seem like a lot to take in, we promise you that you will be fully supported throughout each stage of the process. We are by your side every step of the way to answer any questions you may have and to ensure you’re comfortable and prepared for the next step.
Keen to get started? Take that first step now and call a member of our friendly team on 01204 898527 or request a callback.