The Fostering Process
The Fostering Process
David Holmes (Chief Executive) gives expert video advice on: How do I find a fostering agency?; What is the the assessment and approval process for foster care?; If I have chosen to be the main carer, do checks need to be carried out on my partner? and more...
What is the the assessment and approval process for foster care?
As you would expect, the assessment and approval process is rigorous. After all, these are people who are going to have completely unrelated children coming into their lives and having real responsibility to make sure that those children are ok. So you would expect the people that are going to have that role to be investigated really quite carefully. And so, the assessment process would include lots of checks. Checks on criminal records, health checks, employment checks, the taking up of references. But also, the completion of a detailed assessment which would explore very much the motivation to foster what somebody can offer a child as a foster carer. Their experiences of being parented themselves. Their attitudes to bringing children. All of those things will be explored. Once the assessment itself is done, the detailed assessment report will be considered by an independent panel who will then make a recommendation whether or not the foster carer is to be approved as a foster carer. Even then, the agency itself will make the final decision.
If I have chosen to be the main carer, do checks need to be carried out on my partner?
Absolutely. If you are going to foster a child, then the agency that is assessing you will be extremely interested in knowing about anybody else who lives in the household, too, that the child's going to be coming into. And that's obviously for really good reasons, because you don't only want to assure yourself about the fitness of the foster care, but also the safety of the child if there are other adults there, so you'll need to look into those other adults carefully.
Why does the agency make the final decision as to whether someone can foster?
Because ultimately the agency has the responsibility for the child. Where the child is in the care of the state, in the care of the local authority, then the local authority has to take responsibility for making that decision.
How is a foster carer matched to the foster children?
That needs to be a really careful process, because you're considering a child or children who may have, really, very specific needs, and then you're looking at who are the foster carers that you've got and who can best meet those needs. That's why we need a selection of foster carers, a pool of foster carers to be available, so that there's some choice about the placement.
What is a foster care agreement?
The foster care agreement is the general agreement that you're asked to sign when you become a foster carer, and that's basically a document which sets out the relationship between you and the agency that you're working for. However, when an individual child comes into your family, as a foster child, then you're asked to enter into a placement agreement, which will be an agreement that's specific to that placement, to that child, and governs what the objectives of that placement are going to be.
Is there a shortage of foster carers?
At the moment, we certainly don't have the situation where children who need fostering can't be fostered, but we do often talk about a shortage of foster carers. That's more about the fact that we want as much choice as possible about where children live. And so what we really need is to increase our pool of foster carers and have as diverse a group as possible of foster carers, with a whole range of different skills, so that we can match children and foster carers as well as possible, so we're always we're always looking for more foster carers.