Assessment of a potential foster home is essential because the essence of fostering is the protection of vulnerable children and young people. An independent fostering agency such as Capstone Foster Care carries out an assessment with the initial goal of understanding how you would react to fostering. It is only natural that anyone would find being assessed daunting but every agency or local authority does the same type of due diligence before placing a child or young person in a foster home.
If Capstone agrees that fostering is right for you, your family and your home, a social worker (or initial visit specialist) becomes involved and is assigned to determine your skills to foster. The social worker who visits your home might be one of Capstone Foster Care’s own social workers or an independent social worker. After the initial interview, if you are still interested and the social worker is confident that your home is adequate and your interest is sufficient, the Form F assessment begins. In assessing the home, as an example, dogs identified under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 such as Pit Bull Terriers and the Japanese Tosa are prohibited in a foster home. There also needs to be sufficient space so that each child has his or her own bedroom.
The application and assessment procedure can take from four to six months. The assessment and approval process involves getting to know you. Police and medical checks are carried out. It might seem to be intrusive but agencies and local authorities have the safety of children in care as their primary responsibility. Through an evidence-based assessment, the agency gets to know you and your strengths and capabilities.
Your family could have up to a dozen visits from the social worker. Training sessions are also offered during the assessment period. This allows you to ask pertinent questions and seek advice about what is expected of you and for Capstone to learn about you.
We are there to provide the support that you need during the assessment period as well as after you are approved as a foster carer.
Prospective foster carers will also have had time to have their own children become acclimatised to the idea of having new members in the household. During the months of the fostering assessment process, they will have been involved in the meetings with the social workers.
All members of your household over 18 undergo a DBS check. If the DBS check does show up some criminal activity in the past, this does not automatically disqualify you as a potential carer. The nature of the criminal record and your honesty about the experience can mitigate the circumstances.
Once the Form F is completed, the final approval is up to Capstone’s Agency Decision Maker (ADM). The panel provides Capstone with its report and recommendations, and while the fostering panel and approval or rejection may seem like the end of the process, the final decision whether or not to accept the panel’s recommendation is made by Capstone’s ADM. By the time you have moved through the assessment process you will feel more comfortable about the new experience of having a foster child or young person placed with you. We will work with and help you every step of the way while you are a Capstone foster carer, providing our training and support services as and when you need them.
If you would like to find out more about fostering, contact Capstone Foster Care today on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.See more articles…