Becoming a Foster Carer | Foster Care Fortnight 2018

How do I become a foster carer?

It’s ‘how do I become a foster carer’ day!

We know that the fostering process can seem confusing and daunting, so we have simplified it all for you below.

What is a foster carer?

Foster carers are ordinary people that come from all walks of life but are extraordinary in their ability to open their hearts and homes for children of all ages who can no longer live with their parents. Foster carers supply either short-term or long-term care placements to a range of children with varying needs. They are loving, compassionate and dedicated people that provide safe and secure homes to children who have often experienced abuse and neglect. Through training and support, foster carers make their children and young people feel valued and respected which allows them to grow and thrive in their new environment.

What do you need to be a foster carer?

There are a lot of myths that need to be busted surrounding who can or cannot foster. For example, some people believe you can’t foster if you are gay or are over a certain age. This simply isn’t true, we do not disregard people based on their age, gender, sexuality, race or marital status. What you do need to foster is:

  • A spare bedroom.
  • Professional or personal experience interacting with children or young people.
  • If in a relationship, you will need to show that it is stable and settled.
  • A caring personality and the time and energy to devote to a child.
  • Be over the age of 21. There are no upper age limits as long as you are physically and mentally fit.
  • No serious criminal convictions.
  • A good level of verbal and written English.
  • A commitment to the assessment process which could take 4-8 months.

What is the process of becoming a foster carer?

There is an initial enquiry process and the steps that follow; including the initial visit, the application and Form F process. They should be aware that there are also medical checks and DBS checks. It is also important that the whole household knows that they would be a part of/contribute to the assessment.

1. The enquiry process- Once you make an enquiry, we will set up an initial phone call with you to discuss why you are interested in becoming a foster carer and answer any questions you may have.

2. A home visit- After the initial phone call, we will arrange for a social worker to come and visit you in your home. During this visit they will be able to provide more information about us and the fostering process, they will also be able to answer any more questions you may have. Hopefully, once the home visit is complete we can send out an application form.

3. The assessment process- Once you have applied, we will start the assessment process. We will gather information about you so that we can make a decision on your suitability to be a foster carer. This includes police checks (DBS) for yourself and your family, a full medical check-up and contact with referees. This goes into a document called a Form F.

4. Training- Before you start fostering we will arrange for you to attend our 3-day ‘Skills to Foster’ training which is lead by a fostering team to help prepare you for the fostering task. It is a great opportunity to meet experienced foster carers and ask them any questions.

5. Fostering panel- Once we have collected all the information for your Form F document, your application will go to a panel of fostering experts. They will review the evidence and make a recommendation on your suitability to foster.

6. Your fostering career- Once you are approved, we will warmly welcome you to our team of amazing foster carers. We will work hard to find your first match with a child that meets your experience and placement preferences. Futures for Children will continue to provide support and training throughout your fostering career.

How can you enquire?

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer and wish to enquire you can give us a call us on 01622 760 600 or click here to fill out a short online enquiry form. Alternatively, you can head over to our Facebook page and send us a message. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Want to know more about how you could foster with Fostering Options? Take a look here or fill in the form below.
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About the Author Olivia Lewis-Deane

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