Your Journey to becoming a foster carer
Click the steps below
Step 1 : Initial enquiry
This is your opportunity to simply find out more about fostering. You are not making a commitment – you are having an informal chat with one the Reach Out Care team.
You can call us on 01325 310009, fill in the form on this page or ask for one of our information packs.
Step 2 : Home visit
The next step is for one of our supervising social workers to visit you at your home for a useful two-way conversation.
There will be a more detailed discussion about your circumstances, why you want to become a foster carer, your family and your experiences which are relevant to fostering.
You can ask all the questions you have eg what happens if I decide I want to go ahead, how will fostering impact on my life and family?
If you are married or live with a partner, you both need to be equally committed to fostering. He or she will need to be there for the home visit as they will need to be involved the assessment process as they will be classed as a secondary carer.
Step 3 : Skills to foster
This introductory short training course gives you insight into your role as a foster carer, the other people and professionals you will be working alongside and a fuller understanding of why children come into care
You will have the opportunity of meeting and listening to a Reach Out Care foster carer describe their experiences of the application process and life as a foster carer. Wherever possible, we also invite a young person who has been in care share some of their thoughts and feelings.
Step 4 : Application and assessment
After completing your application form you will be allocated a supervising social worker who will complete a Form F Assessment, a detailed piece of work assessing your suitability to foster.
This is a rigorous process and involves a number of checks including medical, financial and criminal records. In addition we will seek employer and personal references.
Fostering involves the whole family so checks will also be carried out on other members of the household. We will also need to make contact with other significant adults in your life. This will include ex-partners and adult children. Your social worker will explain what the checks entail.
Step 5 : Fostering panel
Our fostering panel is made up of experienced, independent care professionals who will review the assessment prepared by your social worker and meet you face-to-face.
They always try to put potential carers at ease – they know this final stage can seem quite daunting. Your social worker will be present and any concerns will have been raised in advance of you going to panel.
Step 6 : Your first placement
Your approval marks the beginning of this important new chapter of your life. We will support you and develop your skills for your entire fostering career with us.