Becoming a foster carer - the process
Becoming a foster carer for Bromley isn’t easy – we are only looking for the best foster carers. However, if you are committed, it’s not that difficult either! This page will take you through the process.
- We will collect the following range of information about you:
- your full name, address and date of birth
- details of your health, supported by a medical report
- details of any other adults that live with you
- details of any children in your family (whether or not they live with you) and any other children in the home
- details of your home & accommodation
- the outcome of any previous request or application made by you or any member of your household to foster or adopt children, or for registration as a childminder
- the name and address of any fostering service you have been an approved foster carer for in the preceding 12 months
- names of two people to provide personal references
- the information we need to carry out an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for you and each member of your household aged 18 or over [find out more about DBS checks]
- details of any current or previous marriage, civil partnership or similar relationship
Initial home visit
If after those stages we both agree that we want to go ahead, we will come out to visit you at home.
We do this to discuss –
- why you want to become a foster carer and which groups of children and young people you feel able to foster
- the health and safety aspects of your home, and the suitability of the accommodation offered
- any questions you may have about the Assessment and Approval process, including timescales
- the support, including financial support, you will receive
- your views on how to manage children’s behaviour
Checks and references
We will carry out a number of checks and follow up the references you have given us.
We have to do this by law and we hope you will understand how necessary it is, given the importance of the task you are committing to.
We will also collect additional information about you, such as:
- details of your personality
- your religious beliefs and capacity to care for a child with different religious beliefs
- your racial origin, cultural and linguistic background, and capacity to care for a child from any particular racial origin or cultural or religious background
- past and present employment or occupation, standard of living, leisure activity and interests
- your previous experience (if any) of caring for your own and other children
- your skills, competence and potential to care effectively for a child placed with you
Training and preparation
You will be assigned to a training and reparation group consisting of three separate days. The purpose of the group is to give you an opportunity to:
- learn about the role of foster carers, as well as contributing your ideas and opinions to group discussions
- meet with others at a similar stage, share your concerns and learn together about parenting a foster child
- learn new skills and improve existing ones through a variety of means including learning materials, case material, meeting foster carers, videos and presentations
- consider more thoroughly the reasons children come into care, the impact of this on their development, their attitude to birth families and the importance of valuing children’s families and friends
- understand how a vulnerable child, who may be distressed, confused and anxious can behave and the best strategies for dealing with this
- discuss how to deal with contact with a foster child’s family in a positive way
- help you explore what you can offer to children needing foster placements and the categories of children which Bromley needs to find foster families for
- find out about the support services available to you and your families throughout your Assessment and beyond, and introduce you to key contacts in other services such as education and health
- confirm that fostering is right for you
Throughout the process, your fostering social worker will, together with you, complete a detailed assessment of your capabilities and work through any issues which arise, possibly including suggestions for how you can gather more experience with children and young people, if necessary.
An important part of the assessment consists of a series of meetings called Home Studies which are centred on roughly six to eight interviews, some of which will take place in your home. Home Studies include joint and family interviews about your background and life experiences, and you and all other members of your household, including any children, will be talked to individually.Your fostering social worker will explore with you your strengths and address any issues which emerge from these interviews, your checks and references and/or the training and preparation groups.
Every fostering agency has to have a Fostering Panel, made up of people with wide experience of fostering, who oversee their fostering duties. As part of their work, the Fostering Panel makes recommendations regarding the suitability of prospective foster carers to foster, usually including which type of fostering they are suitable for.
All the information about you from the assessment is gathered together in a detailed report - this is called the BAAF Form F. You can, if necessary, comment on the report and record any areas of disagreement, should there be any. The report is presented by your social worker, and ideally you, to Bromley’s Fostering Panel. Although your attendance is not compulsory and will not affect the panel’s decision, it is strongly recommended that you do attend.
The panel’s recommendation(s) regarding your approval will be passed on to Bromley’s Fostering Decision Maker, who, as their title suggests, makes the final decision. Should you disagree with the decision you will have an opportunity to make representations to either to the agency or to request and independent review of the decision.
How long does it all take?
It depends on a number of factors, including how fast you want to go. We aim to complete all applications and assessments within 16 weeks. If we expect that your application will take longer, we will let you know.
Complete our contact form to discover all there is to know about becoming a foster parent. We’ll give you a call, when’s it’s convenient for you, answer your questions, and go from there.
Or if you’re free now, why not give us a call
We look forward to hearing from you.