The 6 steps to registration
If you think fostering might be for you, that’s great. Below we’ve outlined the steps that every foster carer applicant must go through to become a registered foster carer. The process usually takes around 4 months from start to finish. This might seem like a long time, but the assessment process is thorough – and often carers receive their first foster child very soon after approval.
1. Make an enquiry
The first stage involves getting in contact with us either by phone or an enquiry form, and we will arrange a call to discuss your intentions to foster. Once we’ve run through everything, if we are both happy, we can arrange a home visit.
2. Home Visit
The home visit involves a casual discussion between you and one of our team, where we can go into further depth on what fostering entails and what your intentions are. It’s an opportunity for us both to get to know each other, and for you to clear up any details or ask any questions you might have. If we are both happy, the next stage is the application form.
3. Application Form
The application form is thorough and will require you to include comprehensive detail about your life and personal circumstances. Once this is complete you will be assigned a social worker who can work with you to complete the next stage.
4. Fostering Assessment
The fostering assessment, also known as a ‘Form F’, is a process designed to assess your suitability to the role. It will consist of regular visits over the course of a few months from your assigned assessing social worker, and will also include formalities such as providing references and medical checks.
Through the process you will learn more of what life is like as a foster carer, and we will learn more about your circumstances and the people around you. All of this takes place to ensure you can provide the appropriate care and support to a foster child when and if the time comes.
5. Skills to Foster Training
The ‘Skills to Foster’ is a training course that is presented over 2 days and teaches you some of the fundamental knowledge and skills surrounding foster care. You’ll learn more about what carers do, understanding children in the care system and how to care for abused and neglected children.
All new carers undergo this initial training, and it’s an important step in providing you the skillset and understanding to enable you to provide appropriate care for vulnerable children.
6. Panel & Approval
Following your assessment and initial training, you will be asked to attend a fostering panel meeting with an independent fostering panel, who will discuss your assessment and will make a recommendation on your approval.
This might seem a daunting step, but don’t worry. The meeting usually takes around an hour and you will be with your assessing social worker, who will support you through each stage, and this is the final step to becoming a registered foster carer.
“On the way to foster care I was really nervous but they were so nice and made me feel really good straight away.”
Carla (11) from Buckingham