Fostering Assessment Process
To become a foster parent, you’ll need to undergo a full fostering assessment – also known as a Form F assessment – which involves a number of social work visits, checks, references and initial training.
We understand that you might feel a little apprehensive about this step, however, be assured that your local fostering team are here to support you and will progress at a pace that’s right for you.
The fostering application process usually takes between four to six months.
What’s involved in the fostering assessment?
Once your application form has been accepted, you’ll be allocated an assessor who will put together your Form F.
Over a number of home visits, they’ll complete an in-depth analysis to determine your ability to provide a child with a safe and nurturing family environment. This will include discussions around various areas of your personal life, including your childhood, family, finances and more.
We also complete a number of checks and references, including a full DBS check on anyone living in the house who’s over 18 years old, a medical examination and various references.
Some people might find this quite intrusive. However, it’s such an important step that not only ensures the safety and wellbeing of the children in our care, but also to identify where your strengths sit and what additional training and support you may need before you welcome your first child.
What questions are asked during a fostering assessment?
There’s no set list of questions that will need to be answered during a fostering assessment as everybody’s personal circumstances are unique.
Instead, we explore a number of areas, including;
- Childhood experiences
- Past and current relationships
- Relationship with birth children (if applicable)
- Health – both mental and physical
- Family and support networks
- Home and it’s suitability
- Availability and desire to foster
Alongside your checks, references and social work visits, there will be a preparation period which includes training with other people who have applied to become foster carers.
Over a two or three day introductory course, you will learn about key topics, including child development, safeguarding, equality and diversity and more.
Once complete, your Form F will be presented to an independent panel. This foster care panel will review your assessment and make a recommendation on whether you can become a foster parent.
Once the independent panel has made its recommendation, the agency or council makes the final decision on your suitability to foster.
Is there any support for carers?
A social worker is on hand to help you through the process and provide advice and support once you do become foster parents. There are many different types of fostering and over time you will learn your strengths and weaknesses as a foster parent. One of the biggest challenges of being a foster carer is bonding with a foster child who is later moved from your care to return to his or her family or to an adoptive family.
It takes a special person to love and care for a child knowing that the child may only be with you temporarily. While there is a joy when a child is able to return to his or her own family or a successful adoption takes place, there is also wistfulness in letting that child go.
If you’d like to learn more about fostering children and young people, then we’d love to hear from.