6th August, 2021
This series of blogs written by DT, a newly approved foster carer, offers a first-hand account of becoming a foster carer, from making that initial enquiry, to being approved. You can read DT’s previous blog here.
I woke up the day after the panel meeting and felt that, although I hadn’t had the final approval from Capstone’s decision maker, I needed to get ready for the arrival of a child. That evening, I went to a high street shop and purchased lots of emergency clothing ranging from ages 5-13, including pyjamas and underwear for both boys and girls. It looked a little odd at the checkout, but I was pleased with my purchases. If a child turned up without those things, then I was ready. I also went to a supermarket and purchased healthy snacks with long sell by dates and lots of bottled drinks.
I completed a feedback form about panel and the assessment process. Meanwhile the minutes from the panel were being signed off by everyone and sent to the agency’s decision maker, who would then decide if I was to be approved.
I got a call from Fiona, who had been my contact throughout the application. It was clear that this was another goodbye, but she put me in touch with my peer mentor Lynne; a foster carer who had lots of experience and I who could chat with. I sent a text to Lynne and almost immediately we had arranged a FaceTime call. I had seen Lynne on Facebook doing her chats with Lisa about fostering and I had listened to them many times during my assessment, as they were foster carers sharing their experiences.
Lynne was amazing, she gave me some great hints on what to do and I felt that she was someone that I could chat to again in the future.
Then there was a period of almost two weeks where I didn’t hear anything. That was a strange time for me, knowing that my life was about to change forever but that at this point there was nothing happening.
She wished me well on my fostering journey and let me know that I would receive a formal letter within 3 days. I put the phone down and in my mind there was a firework display, celebrating the end of the assessment process and the beginning of the next stage of my fostering experience.
There was a flurry of activity for a few weeks and I was assigned a supervising social worker, who would complete an induction with me within 14 days and visit my home. I wondered what was he going to be like, would we get on and would he like me? I knew that this would be a key relationship I had with Capstone and the person who would be guiding me going forward.
I was given training on the CHARMS system via zoom, which records all fostering activity and then completed some more forms.
My supervising social worker came to visit me and I liked him straight away which was a big relief. I had really looked forward to the induction, as I was thinking more and more about what was going to be expected from me. There was literally a guide to everything! It took me a good few weeks to read through the guides, especially the Capstone handbook, but I know that this was time well spent. I was given a training schedule, indicating the core courses that I needed to complete during my first year as a foster carer and then other non-compulsory courses that I could also attend if I wished to. I signed up for the lot. Completing the courses on Zoom is so easy and I thought that as soon as I get a child, then my time would be more limited.
When I think back to the beginning, I didn’t believe that I would get past that first chat. I want to say to anyone thinking of fostering and having doubts about suitability; don’t automatically discount yourself like I almost did. Let Capstone know about your circumstances and then let them make the decision, as that is the whole purpose of the assessment.
I let them see the real me and they decided that some of the things I had experienced would be useful for a child who really needed my help.
As I said in my first blog, it took a pandemic to help me make the best decision in my life and here I am now a fully approved foster carer.
Watch this space as DT continues to blog about her journey beyond being approved, including the wait following approval and the matching process. If you feel inspired to find out more about becoming a foster carer, don't hesitate to get in touch.
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.