So you have shown your interest in becoming a foster carer, whats next? typically you’ll receive a phone call from the organisation you register with, whether it is a Local Authority or Independent Fostering Agency. The conversation is structured around the criteria to become a foster parent.
The questions you can expect to be asked are; Do you have a spare bedroom? How many children do you have? Do any of your kids share a bedroom? (children over 6 are required to have their own bedroom) They assess if you speak fluent English. Are you in full-time employment? (as a primary carer you are expected to work part-time at most). You are also asked what placements you are looking for.
The initial call is made to see if you meet the minimum requirements in order to be considered for fostering.
If you meet the criteria the Local Authority or Fostering Agency arranges for an assessor to visit you, you can say the assessor plays the deciding factor in you becoming a foster carer. the assessor compiles an assessment form ‘Form F’ which is then presented to the approval panel.
Once you’re approved the assessment form ‘Form F’ is also given to the local authority, this form highlights your motivations, your family dynamics, your strengths and your weaknesses.
The assessor can visit several times and ask in-depth questions to get accurate answers to present to the approval panel.
Some of the questions the assessor asks are in regards to your reason or motivation for fostering; Why? Why now? What held you back from considering fostering before then?
These questions are used to get a better understanding of what’s driven you to foster and insight into your family. It is also a good time to explain your strengths and what you can offer the child as a family.
The also look further into your life and how you were parented, major life events, key relationships, how you parent if you have children. they look at health, employment, finances. We do a health & safety check, DBS check, medical check. Personal and employer references.
They will also talk to your children if you have any, ex partners if you have been married previously or have been in significant relationships previously – unless there is a good reason why not. They will also ask for school references for your children.
It is very in-depth and can stir up a lot of emotions. Essentially they want to know you as a person and your family. If there have been difficult times in your past, then they want to talk about how you managed and if you have dealt with it, or if you have unresolved issues.
The assessor also takes a tour of the house so they can do their health and safety check. they will make notes on things such as if the Medicines are not locked away and within reach of the child among other things.
They also take a look at your birth and marriage certificates, MOT certificate, insurance documents and driving licenses.
As previously mentioned all this is then documented in the assessor’s form ‘form F’ and presented to the approval panel. You will then have a date with the approval panel which we will cover in the next blog. Hope you find some value in this blog any comments would be appreciated.