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Want to become a foster carer? | Brighter Fostering

Most people who have taken the first step to becoming a foster carer do their own research as it is not a decision that is taken lightly. Having some insight into the role of a foster carer is essential.  

In this blog I will explain the assessment process to assist families in making an informed decision about your next step to providing a safe, loving, and positive family environment for looked after children, where they will excel. 

What is the assessment process? 

Step 1: Initial enquiry  When we receive your initial call, we talk through the role of a professional foster carer, application requirements, and a summary of what fostering children entails. Step 2: Initial home visit Within 7-10 working days a member of our team will meet with you in your home to complete an initial home visit. Where we will discuss fostering and how it might impact your family and lifestyle. We will use this time to gather some basic information about you and your family. Such as where you have lived and a summary of your life experiences. The main aim is for us to get a good feel for you and your home environment, and to give you an idea of life as a Foster Carer and what you can expect. During this time, you can ask any questions you may have about the process. If you decide to proceed, the next step is to complete a fostering application form. Step 3. After the initial home visit  We often find that prospective Foster Carers find this part of their fostering application the most daunting. It is very natural to feel apprehensive about understanding the fostering assessment. But rest assure there really is no need.  After the home visit if Brighter Fostering and your family/household are happy to proceed, you will be allocated an Assessing Social Worker who will start and complete your formal process of becoming a Foster Carer. There are two stages to this process. The first stage will be about gathering references, medical checks, police checks DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) and general safety checks. The second stage involves in-depth discussions about your family history. At Brighter Fostering, we run these stages together, so we do not delay the process for foster carers. The assessment process involves 6-8 visits to your home which includes a mixture of virtual and home visits. During this process you also attend a virtual/in person training session, which we call skills to foster. Your Assessing Social Worker will gather lots of information about you including your family life, your background, history, and about current/ previous relationships. Your assessing social worker will always try and make you feel comfortable. We also ask that you provide names of referees as part of this process; and these people will be contacted in relation to your application. Once the information is put together, alongside the information you gave at the initial home visit, it forms what is known as a Form F Report. This report provides an insight into you and your family; there is not a right or wrong person that makes a Foster Carer, no-one is here to judge as everyone has had different life experiences. That is what makes people great at fostering. The best thing to do is to simply be honest! Step 4: After the Form F is completed You will have the opportunity to review your Form F before it is passed to the Brighter Fostering’s Independent Panel, who you will meet with to discuss your application.  The assessing social worker will work through the process with you and explore questions the panel may want to discuss. After this, you will find out whether the panel will be recommending approval. The fostering panel approve all new applicants and will review your fostering journey annually.  Final point The assessment process is not just about completing forms and training, it also places a spotlight on your life. This should enable you to draw on your own lived experiences and give you an understanding of your core skills and strengths to benefit the children that will come into your care. As you may expect, the fostering assessment process involves an in-depth analysis; but this should not make you feel anxious. For many, it is the fear of not knowing what happens during an assessment that they find daunting. The aim of this blog is to help potential foster carers feel at ease when their own assessment approaches, by outlining how the foster care assessment works in detail. The journey through the assessment process can be enlightening!

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