“Can you explain a little about the assessment process prior to panel?”
The assessment process took 6 months to complete – not as long as I thought it would. At the start of the process, I gave Fostering Solutions all my details in an application form and they began gathering information about my background. They checked my work and personal references, as well as searching for any past involvement with the police and Local Authorities. I was then allocated an assessing social worker who I met with around nine times in total. My assessing social worker and I had lots of in-depth discussions about lots of aspects of my current and previous life. This sounds very intrusive, but I understood why it was necessary and I really enjoyed the whole experience! I got on really well with the assessing social worker. I also had a medical examination from my G.P. and a health and safety inspection of my house.
“How did you prepare for the panel day?”
On the day of panel, I stayed calm and confident. I was joined by my assessing social worker which made the experience more enjoyable. She had already explained what I should expect in panel and reassured me that I would not have come that far if I was not ready.
“Was panel what you expected?”
Panel was what I expected, although there were more people there than I thought there would be!
“How would you explain panel to a potential carer?”
In my panel there were around twelve people present. Although, some of those were observing the process, rather than being part of the panel. The members of the panel are independent of Fostering Solutions. They asked me several questions regarding my application and assessment. None of the questions came as a surprise and the panel were very supportive and friendly.
“What happened immediately following panel?”
Immediately following the panel I was informed that I had been approved, pending the final say of the agency decision-maker. I received notification of my official approval a few days later by post.
“How quickly following panel did you get your first placement?”
I was approved by the panel on 31st August and I received my first placement on 15th October.
“Can you share the process and your feelings regarding your first placement?”
Prior to my first placement, I received several calls from my supervising social worker with referrals. He would briefly describe the child/young person and their circumstances to me. I accepted all the referrals that the social worker called me with, but alternative foster carers were found for those children. Eventually, I received a call from the agency regarding two brothers from my local area. I explained that I was very keen to look after these little boys, particularly because they were from the area I grew up in. I received the call at 5pm and the boys were with me by 7pm the same evening! I felt nervous and excited when I knew they were on their way. Once they had arrived there was no time to feel nervous anymore, I was too busy! I took each day as it came and we all settled into a good routine within a few weeks.
“What support have you had from Fostering Solutions following your approval?”
I have received a lot of support from Fostering Solutions since my approval. I have a monthly supervision session with my supervising social worker as standard, but I also know that I can contact him, or the agency, whenever I need help, advice or support. There are support groups that I can attend with fellow foster carers and many training sessions.
“Following your assessment or panel what have you learnt?”
I have learnt from my first placement that I have all the support I need from Fostering Solutions, as well as from my fellow foster carers.
If you are considering fostering, enquiry with us today and we will give you a call!