Foster carers are as individual as the children they care for, so it’s important for us to know what skills you possess and where you need further training and development.
As you’d expect, we also make rigorous checks about prospective carers to make sure that children and young people in their care are safe from harm.
The first step to becoming a carer is to contact us for a chat. We can then tell you a little more about the formal assessment process – our way of finding out about you and your potential.
The process gives you the accurate information you need on what fostering will involve and gives you chance to consider how fostering will affect your life – as well as your family and friends.
If you are still interested and if we believe that you are suitable at this stage, we will arrange for one of our social workers to visit you at home. The visit will be a fact finding exercise and will also be an opportunity to ask any further questions you may have. The social worker will also need to look around your home. They may also ask you to complete paperwork for CRB and any other statutory checks so it would be useful if you could have identity documents for all persons in the household over the age of 16 to hand. We will also require details of 3 referees. Also, during this visit the assessment process will be explained in greater detail.
Once all statutory checks are received, the social worker will write a brief report detailing the visit and recommend whether or not you are to be sent an application form.
A qualified Social Worker carries out a full assessment; you will be actively involved in this process. The social worker will visit your home, generally on 6-8 occasions, to meet and collect information about all members of your household and your experience and skills and your ability to carry out the tasks involved in fostering. The information obtained forms the basis of an assessment report. Acorn House uses the 'Form F' format – published by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF). The Form F asks you to provide "evidence" to show you meet the competencies required to carry out the fostering task. Your assessment social worker will explain competencies and evidence in much more detail with you
Assessment visits will be carried out until all the necessary information is gained, there will probably be many questions that arise for you or your family members during this time so use it as an opportunity to ask the questions.
Once the assessment is completed it will be presented to the Fostering Panel, you are invited to attend this and will be notified well in advance of any date that your assessment will be going to panel. The panel will make recommendations as to whether or not to approve your registration as a carer.
Once approved as a foster carer, we will use information gathered during the assessment process to decide which children or young people to ask you to foster.
The process will usually take between four and six months from the time you first apply to knowing whether or not you have been successful.
If you are applying with a partner, you will both be assessed – but even if you apply on your own, all members of your household will be involved in the process.
We will support you throughout the process, and simply ask in return that you are as open and honest as possible and give answers that you believe in…"rather than answers you think we want to hear". Be yourself, raise any concerns as quickly as possible and always ask if there’s anything that you don’t understand or would like more information about.