Considering becoming a foster parent? Or want to know more about how to foster a child? Recent statistics show that the UK needs to recruit over 8,600 new foster carers to keep up with demand. That’s why we’re always looking for dedicated and caring individuals to join the Capstone team.
However, despite foster care being one of the most rewarding professions, getting started and understanding how to become a foster parent can be a little daunting. That’s why we put together this foster care guide. Learn more about how to become a foster carer and how to foster a child today.
As an independent foster care provider, the “can I foster?” question is one we get asked a lot. In the majority of cases, the answer is “yes”, as long as you meet the fostering criteria:
There are of course other aspects to consider, but these three things are the main criteria to being able to provide quality foster care services with an agency like Capstone Foster Care. Find out more about our foster care requirements today – or learn more about who can foster from our guide on ‘Can I foster if…?’.
Once you’ve decided to become a foster carer and have met the application requirements, there’s a choice to make – do you start fostering with a local authority or an independent foster care agency like Capstone Foster Care?
Local authorities are organisations like local and county councils – these are the government bodies that will initially remove a child from their home if they feel it necessary. Many years ago, all looked after children were placed directly to local authority foster carers. Over time, however, the demand for carers has increased while the local authorities’ ability to meet that demand has not. This is why independent foster care agencies are so important; without services like those offered by Capstone, there would be a huge deficit in available carers.
It's likely that independent foster care agencies can provide more resources, including a better weekly pay, more detailed fostering training programmes and have more supervising social workers to provide more one-to-one support. Learn more about the benefits of fostering with an independent fostering agency.
Next, to start your journey to becoming a foster parent, simply get in touch with the team here at Capstone and submit an initial expression of interest. Your submission will be considered by a social worker who will decide whether to take your application forward. If this is successful, you’ll be asked to fill out a full application form which will require you to give consent for the completion of statutory checks, including a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, and for your references to be contacted. Anyone living with you over the age of 18 years will also be subject to checks.
Once your application is submitted, the fostering assessment process begins. This helps the care agency identify what skills and qualities you can bring to the world of foster care. This is usually done through a series of meetings with an assigned supervising social worker.
Your social worker will talk to you about your personal and professional history, your family, your health and hobbies. They’ll also ask about your support network, make sure your home is suitable for foster care and ensure you can provide a safe fostering environment. All of these discussions will be formalised and detailed on a Form F assessment document.
Once the Form F assessment is completed, you’ll meet with an independent foster care panel. These experienced and objective panels meet regularly to provide feedback on the suitability and capability of potential foster carers.
At the panel meeting, the panel members will discuss your Form F assessment with you and ask any further questions they might have before making a final recommendation. Bear in mind that the foster panel’s recommendation is not final – and the decision remains with your foster care agency. Agencies do however take the panel’s recommendation into account when deciding whether to approve new foster carers.
Once you’ve been approved by your foster care agency, that’s the end of the application process. You’ll officially be a registered foster carer!
Once you’ve become a registered carer, there is only one thing left – your first placement. You could receive a placement straight away, but it’s common to have a small gap before your first placement. This is because, when placing a child or young person, we always try to choose the right foster carer for their needs.
The full foster care placement process at Capstone works as follows:
If you’re looking to start your foster care journey now you’ve learnt how to foster a child, all you need to do is get in touch. You can reach our friendly fostering team by giving us a call on 0800 012 4004, by filling out our enquiry form or by using our live chat service.
Our office staff will be happy to answer any questions you might have on how to foster, while helping you take your first step on the path to a rewarding new career.
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.