What is Fostering
Foster Carers provide loving homes for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents.
This may be for a short period of time until they are able to return to the care of their parents, until they are able to move to another member of their extended family or long term until they are 18.
Children and young people come into the care of the local authority for many reasons. They come from a diverse range of backgrounds and each will have their own individual needs. What they all have in common is the need to be cared for in a safe and secure family environment.
Who can Foster?
Foster Carers come from all walks of life, a wide range of cultures, backgrounds and ethnic groups. They are a diverse group of people representative of the society that we live in. It’s not about your ethnic origin, marital status, age or sexuality, nor whether you own your own home that matters.
What we are looking for are people with the personal qualities and determination to make a difference to a child or young person’s life.
On a practical level you must:
• Be over 21;
• Have a spare bedroom;
• Be a full-time resident of the UK or have leave to remain in the UK;
• Whilst you do not need to be a homeowner, you do need to have a stable and secure tenancy.
• You must have good spoken and written English
• You must have the time and availability to dedicate yourself to fostering as well as your other commitments to your family and / or work.
There are a number of steps to go through before being formally approved as a Foster Carer. During the assessment process you will have an allocated social worker who will answer any questions you may have and support you every step of the way.
If you are interested in finding out more about fostering, you can contact us by phone on 0345 057 3845, or complete our online enquiry form. One of our social workers will phone you back for an informal chat.
You will be under no obligation to take things any further; the purpose of the conversation is to answer any questions you may have about fostering and the assessment process and to take a few details about yourself and your family.
If you decide that you would like to pursue your interest in fostering, the next step would be for you to be visited at home by one of our social workers. This would involve a more detailed exploration of your understanding of fostering, your motivation, your family circumstances and any experience you may have which is relevant to fostering. If you have a partner, they would also be expected to be present and to be part of any conversation.
The home visit is another opportunity for you to ask questions and explore what fostering would mean for your family.
Following the home visit, we will let you know whether we can accept an application from you.
Once you complete your application, your allocated supervising social worker will begin a detailed assessment of your suitability to become a foster carer. This will involve talking to you (and your partner if you have one) about your history and life experiences and to others living in your household including your children. This is called a Form F assessment.
As part of the assessment we also have to carry out a number of checks, including health and police checks, and take up personal and professional references. We will also need to speak to any former partners and adult children. As fostering involves the whole household police checks will need to be carried out on all adult members of the household.
Having a criminal conviction will not automatically rule someone out from fostering. It depends on the nature and circumstance of the offence. Your supervising social worker will be able to advise you about this.
All carers are expected to complete initial training as part of the assessment process. This will give you an insight into what it means to be a foster carer, your role and expectations. The training will include the opportunity to meet with our existing foster carers to learn from their experience.
The assessment process will usually take several weeks. It will involve a number of meetings with your social worker where you will have the opportunity to discuss a number of topics relating to fostering.
Approval (The Fostering Panel)
Once the assessment is complete your social worker will prepare a report (the Form F) to be presented to the fostering panel. This is an independent group of people with childcare experience whose job it is to make recommendations to the agency decision maker about applicants’ suitability to foster.
You will be able to read and comment on the report before it is presented to the panel and you will be invited to attend the panel meeting along with your social worker, who will make sure that you know what to expect on the day.
Once approved, you will be ready for your first placement. You will have help and support from Apple every step of the way.
Transferring to Apple Fosterting
Are you an experienced Foster Carer considering transferring from their existing agency or local authority? Would you like to foster for a small agency where you will receive the support that you need and deserve? We would like to hear from you and to give you more information about the benefits of fostering for Apple. One of our experienced social workers will talk you through the process and answer any questions you may have.