When you apply to become a foster carer, you will go through a series of steps and phases as part of the overall fostering process. One of these steps is an initial home visit, which is an essential part of the fostering assessment process. This guide looks to explain exactly what foster care home visits entail, and how you can prepare for this initial visit.
The initial home visit for potential foster carers has an informal and casual feel and will typically last around 1 – 2 hours – depending on how much detail is required from the visit, and whether this visit is face-to-face or virtual. The main aim of this meeting is to understand the suitability of the foster carers, and whether or not your application can proceed. The indoor and outdoor spaces of your home will also be assessed to determine how a child could benefit from living in your environment. It’s also really important for you to get to know us as much as you can – this is an opportunity to ask questions about fostering and about our agency. It’s a two way conversation!
The initial home visit will be attended by one of our supervising social workers, a manager from your independent fostering agency team and/or one of our recruitment officers.
From your side, the main carer and their partner (if relevant) need to attend the visit. . Other household members can also be met as part of the assessment, including any relatives who are living there over the age of 18, or if you have a permanent lodger.
Older children are welcomed to join the meeting. Young children can also be at the meeting if necessary but we won't go into any detail with them at this stage. Everything we discuss during this visit is age appropriate. We do want the whole family to be on board with fostering though, so its helpful if you have already discussed this with your family.
During the home visit, we’ll cover a range of conversation topics and ask questions to understand more about you and your family. Some of the topics we would typically cover include:
We’d also ask you questions about yourself to get you know you better, such as hobbies and interests, what you like to do in your spare time and anything that tells us more about you as a person. We always find this really important as children who may come to live with you will have hobbies and interests too so the more we know about you the better.
It’s worth being aware that some of the questions may feel slightly personal or intrusive, but it’s important to ask them as we need to ensure the people who we recruit to take care of young children are the best fit.
After the initial home visit has been concluded, a report will be written which will recommend whether or not the application should go ahead. This will then be signed off by one of our Social Work Managers. Your decision will also be factored into this recommendation – as it’s possible that after the meeting, you may feel that fostering is not the right path for you, in which case, you can withdraw or delay your application process.
If you’ve been recommended to proceed with the application but decide not to, don’t be a stranger! In many circumstances, interest to become a foster carer is shown up to 2 years before people apply – as circumstances can dictate timings on whether fostering is the right choice there and then, such as planned home improvements pending, health priorities or birth children’s busy schedules. By staying in touch, if your circumstances do change, we’ll be there for you every step of the way.
Feel like you’re ready to make the first step and apply to become a foster carer with Capstone? Our friendly team make the process as easy as possible – simply start by making an initial enquiry by completing an online form, requesting a call back or an information pack. From there, the next step will be your home visit.
Get in touch with our expert team today to find out more about the fostering assessment process, foster care home visits and more.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.