When you apply to become a foster carer you’ll receive plenty of information and help to prepare you for your role during pre-approval training, and before your first foster child placement. Your training will take you through what the placement process entails, who is involved in placing a child with you and how you will be supported throughout the placement.
The Foster Placement Process
Even before you are considered for your first placement, you will have worked with your agency team and discussed what type of children you will be best able to provide care for. This will include details such as the age and gender of children you will care for, as well as other details like whether you will care for sibling groups. To learn more about the foster approval process and placement click here.
When a child has been identified as potentially requiring a placement, carers who are the best fit will be considered. If you’re identified as a potential carer, the child’s supervising social worker will discuss the proposed details with you, ensuring you know of any risks associated with the child’s placement.
If you are happy to go ahead with the placement the next stage of planning is approval is a process that may involve the local authority, your fostering agency, the child’s school or education service and potentially the child’s parents/other parties who have previously cared for the child. In an ideal scenario, an introductory visit will be arranged for children who are old enough.
Factors For Foster Placement
Alongside considering the closeness of a match between potential carers and the child, a number of other issues will be factored in to help select a suitable placement:
- Geographical closeness to a child’s home and potential contact with their parents or extended family will need to be considered and if the child has siblings, whether they are best placed together.
- For disabled children, any additional needs they may have will be noted and prioritised within the matching process.
- Continuity of care is also an important consideration factor in foster placement and where possible and appropriate, the potential placement will accommodate the child’s current education and healthcare arrangements.
The Placement Plan
Once a placement is agreed a plan will be put in place for the care of the child. This should happen before the child arrives at your home but can take place within 72 hours of their arrival in care. The plan will cover details such:
- The child’s accommodation
- Any concerns relating to the care of the child
- Day-to-day arrangements for care
- Where responsibilities lie
This means you should know if and when you might need to seek permission to involve the child in certain activities and how that permission will be sought. There will also be an indication of the length of the placement and whether it is likely to be short-term or long term.
In short, the placement plan will outline everything you need to know in order to provide supportive and nurturing care for the child, so it’s a very important part of the process.
Do you still have questions about the placement process? We know it can seem complicated at times, but the NFA team is on hand to answer any queries you may have, large or small. Call us on 0845 200 4040 and we’ll be happy to talk things through.