Becoming a foster carer is embracing a new life choice as well a career change; therefore a decision which should be taken seriously. We need to make sure that before we approve you as a carer that you are an eligible candidate to look after children and young people. The application process can take between four and six months.
Stage one: Initial Enquiry
Approximate Week 1
When you register your interest in Regional Fostering Services either online, by phone, email, post or face-to-face, our team will help advise you as to whether fostering is the career for you. There is no obligation to make a decision right there and then.
Stage two: Home visit from the Regional Fostering team
Approximate Week 1 to 2
If you would like to find out more about fostering and joining our team, a key worker will visit you at your home to discuss further all the possibilities available to you and your family. This will also give you the opportunity to raise any concerns you may have at this time – you may want to jot questions down beforehand. We will advise you and provide you with a detailed, realistic view about becoming a foster carer.
Stage three: Registration
Approximate Week 1 to 2
We will give you a short period of time to consider your decision and then contact you to see if you would like to proceed any further. If you and your family decide that fostering is right for you, we will ask you to meet with one of our supervising social workers, who will then discuss with you how to complete the application ‘Form F’. It contains information regarding your interests in becoming a foster carer, your previous experience, general information, medical checks and a home risk assessment.
Stage four: DBS, Identity checks
Approximate Week 2 to 4
You will also need to complete an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check (DBS) and provide us with references. A member at Regional Fostering will be available to guide you through every step of the process.
Stage 5: Interviews/references and ‘Form F’ completion
Approximate Week 3 to 16
At this stage references will be followed up and referees interviewed by our specialist social workers. You and your family will also have in-depth 1:1 interviews that explore parenting skills. But, don’t worry it is not as intense as it sounds! We just want to find out about your attitude towards parenting and your parenting skills, how ready your house is and you and your families’ overall approach towards fostering.
Stage 6: Induction Training
Either weeks 2-4 or 14-16
We are very keen on reflective practice and training for all our carers. Training will continue throughout your career with Regional Fostering, although it is particularly important during the approval process. The induction ‘Skills to Foster’ programme is a short two day course (or 4 x half days) that gives carers an insight into fostering. You will have the chance to meet other applicants and your experienced trainers will be there to answer all your questions.
Stage 7: The Panel
Approximate Week 16 to 20
The Panel will consider the Form F, meet you and your assessing Social Worker and then make a recommendation to our ‘Decision Maker’ who makes the final decision on whether you will be a suitable foster carer. The panel is made up of members who have experience in fostering; personal and professional. They may be professionals from social care, childcare, education, legal and medical advisers, as well as representatives of Regional Fostering and children or young people who have been fostered.
Stage 8: Approval
Weeks approximate 17 to 22
Once approved, you will become a Regional Fostering carer. You will be assigned a Regional Fostering Social Worker who will regularly meet with you and support you in your role looking after children and young people.