Tomorrow the fostering panel will meet to decide whether we are suitable to foster. Having made the decision several years ago that we would like to give a child/ children a foster home the time was now right, and in late May we began to look into fostering. We made a phone call to express interest and the process snowballed.

We chose an Independent Fostering Agency ( IFA ) whose flyer I had kept for years – because I liked their philosophy and child-centred approach. They explained that there was currently a real need for carers in our area – which I already knew. I am told that to go from initial enquiry to panel in 4 months is something of a record.

I suspect that as Peter (my husband – names changed) and I were pretty much childhood sweethearts and had always worked for Local Authority, predominantly in schools it made the process relatively simple.  We have been together for 31 years, so there was not a lot of “investigation” in respect of other partners. Peter will be the main carer as I still work full time ( not in school holidays ) .

This means that over Summer  I was on holiday for 6 weeks at a pivotal point of the process  and we were both  available to meet with the Social Worker , Norman, our form F assessor, over the Summer  on a very regular basis, as were the people who will be our support network.

I actually found the process of “completing the form F” to be really positive. We both found that having the time to share and reflect on how we were parented, and how we subsequently, as a couple, parented our own children was really fascinating. When we read through the completed form with Norman, the independent assessing Social Worker, I became quite emotional.

He showed amazing empathy, he had predicted the reaction there would be as he  knew our history and that reading about my amazing father, who died almost exactly two years previously, would unpack a little more of the grief that I had been processing in the recent past.

Although it is only 10 weeks since we met Norman it seems like he knows us well – hardly surprising as he has read all the reports that we have completed, spoken to our friends and family and visited us at least every fortnight, including at our static caravan, in order to discuss all aspects of our nature and to risk assess every part of our life and subsequently determine our suitability to foster.

The process so far for us has been quite smooth. Speaking with other carers who were part of our skills to foster group many had taken much longer to reach this stage and to be ready to go to panel.

Jayne Robbins (alias) – A Blogging Foster Carer.

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