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DT’s journey to becoming a Foster Carer – Step 4, Skills to Foster Training

9th July, 2021

Are you thinking of becoming a foster carer, but want to know more about the process to getting approved? This series of blogs written by DT, a newly approved foster carer, offers a first-hand account from making that initial decision, right through to attending panel and getting approved. Read DT’s previous blog here

Capstone’s training was going to be held virtually via Teams due to the pandemic, so I asked if I could have another family member present to join in. Fiona said “yes”, and that was worthwhile as we both got so much out of it learning together, as fostering does impact on the whole family.

The Skills to Foster training forms part of the assessment process. Each session went pretty much in the same format: -

  • I completed an activity sheet before each training session.
  • Fiona ran the course very enthusiastically and joining me were 2 other prospective foster carers and a couple of social workers. I was nervous even though I was used to doing meetings, but as it was run so well, I soon relaxed.
  • At the end of each session, we were sent a reflection sheet to complete before the next part of the training. These would be used as part of my overall assessment.

I was so glad that there was no hard sell, but just the truth about fostering and the things that would be expected from you.

Nobody would move forward after Skills to Foster training without having gained that understanding that some parts of being a foster carer will be very difficult and that it will not be like “normal” everyday family life that some people might initially imagine. I liked the openness of the conversations, which in fact is something that I have found throughout the whole assessment process.

The subject matter below was delivered through various videos, discussions, case studies and PowerPoint presentations: -

  • Why children end up in foster care and the various types of fostering.
  • 7 Stages of Child Development.
  • Attachment Theory – The secure base.
  • Working with others such as the social workers who are there to support you and the child.
  • Safer Caring – the way you look after the child.
  • Fostering Standards & Regulations.

The course was so interesting, and I particularly liked the secure base theory, so I purchased 3 more books on that subject.

At the end of the third session, I was informed that a decision would be made as to whether I would be approved to move on to stage 2 of the assessment.

Meanwhile on 6th November 2020, I got the medical form to hand into my doctors which Capstone would pay for. It would then be forwarded to Capstone’s doctor who would decide if I was “fit to foster”. I decided that day I needed to go on my diet, no more Covid snacking for me.

I literally jumped for joy when I got the nod from Fiona on the 12th November. I was assigned an assessing social worker and I was sent more information sheets which covered the main headings for the Form F, which did seem very detailed and child focused.

Fiona sent me the “Skills to Foster Handbook” which delved deeper into the subjects we had covered during the training. It is a wonderful read as there were things like the jargon buster which got me up to speed with the very many fostering terms. I worked through checklists at the end of each chapter and there were tasks you could do as a family. This poor book is all now battered and torn from all my reading.

My assessing social worker, Karen, called me a few days later to introduce herself and we booked in our first few meetings. She was friendly, but I thought I am going to have to grin and bear this. Talking about my past was never my favourite subject and the thought of someone taking notes and writing a report at the end of it was really daunting. It’s funny thinking about that now because it was such a great experience, and with Karen I was in good hands.

You can find DT's next  blog about the assessment here. If DT's story is inspiring you to enquire about becoming a foster carer, don't hesitate to get in touch.

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