How to Become a Foster Parent
If you have ever thought about becoming a foster carer, your initial thoughts might centre on the big question of who can become foster carers. There is no easy answer to this because there are different types of foster carers. If you are serious about fostering a child, contact Capstone Foster Care. At any given time, there are thousands of children and young people in the UK seeking foster placement. If you are already a foster carer and wondering how to transfer from a local authority to an independent fostering agency, we can help you with that question too.
Once you make contact with us, the application and assessment process begins. As to who can foster, there are some limitations. There are few outside limits on fostering age when it comes to foster families. Legally, our carers must be at least 21 years old (ideally over 25). Your marital status and lifestyle are not a factor. While local authorities are the ones who take the child into care, fostering agencies also assess, train, approve, and support the fostering families.
The first step is to show an interest in fostering. Once we meet with you and discuss the requirements and explain the procedure and it is evident that you have a sincere interest in the well being of children and young people, we begin to explore the additional expectations. If you are ready for the challenge and aware of the reality of being a foster carer, Capstone will delegate a social worker to carry out a Form F assessment.
The assessment includes evaluating the amount of energy and time you have available as well as your level of health and the amount of space that you have available in your home. Each foster child needs to have his or her own bedroom, for instance. A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check will be carried out on all members of the household over the age of 18. The process, which can take up to six months is progressive, analysing aspects such as your previous experience of working with children and your existing skills.
The social worker will make at least half a dozen visits to your home approximately every couple of weeks so that they can build up an accurate picture of your home life. As the various checks are carried out, you will be made aware of the progress of your application. During this period, you will begin attending training sessions that will help you start your fostering career. This is when you will begin to meet other applicants and experienced trainers who can answer your questions from real-life experience.
When the Form F is complete, the assessment goes through a quality assurance (QA) process and is then presented to an independent panel that will assess your application with you in attendance. The panel then provides its recommendation to Capstone Foster Care and our Agency Decision Maker will make the final decision based on the recommendation from the panel.
When you are approved as a foster family, you will be able to take on your first fostering placement – or placements. You will be supported by a Capstone supervising social worker who will meet with you regularly to make sure all is going to plan and work with you with all your fostering placements.
If you want to know more about fostering, contact Capstone Foster Care today on 0800 012 4004 or simply click here.