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Fostering Panel!

As you start your journey to becoming a foster carer with Unity Foster Care, you'll get to meet some great people who all have a common goal: to help children in need.

Our Fostering Panel are here to assess potential fostering families before they become approved carers. Scroll down to find out more about our Fostering Panel!

Fostering panel

What is a fostering panel?

If you're applying to become a foster carer with Unity Foster Care, you'll have the opportunity to meet a great bunch of friendly, independent professionals that are part of the Fostering Panel!

The Fostering Panel's primary function is to provide a recommendation about an applicants suitability to become a foster carer, and look at aspects such as your skills, experience and knowledge. They'll use all the information collated by your Independent Assessor, and may ask questions on the day of panel to ensure any queries are answered. Don't worry - our Panel members are a welcoming group, and we'll be with you on the day!

Who is part of the fostering panel?

Our Fostering Panel comprises of professional individuals with various backgrounds and experience; some are foster carers, some were in care themselves, whilst others work in academia or other child-related professions.

Unity Foster Care's panel is designed to reflect our inclusive ethos, so our panel members are from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, faiths, and sexuality. We are a welcoming, friendly fostering agency - and we believe our panel should be, too!

The people who attend your panel may vary, but the Chair of our Fostering Panel is Damien Heylings, who is responsible for providing a recommendation to Unity Foster Care!

"My name is Damien Heylings and I chair the independent fostering Panel at Unity Foster Care. I am a foster carer and have been fostering since 2010, so I have experience at Panel from both sides of the table.

The word 'Panel' can sound quite scary. The truth is, though, that people say afterwards that the Panel meeting was much less intimidating than they had feared and that Panel members were friendly and welcoming."

Fostering Panel

What happens at the fostering panel?

We understand attending panel can make potential foster carers feel anxious, so we do everything we can to help ease any angst or worries. Before panel, we'll provide you with a Panel Member Profile booklet, so you can get to know the panel members before your meeting!

You will be introduced to the six panel members, the panel adviser and panel administrator at the start of the panel. The Chair, Damien, will then outline the purpose of the meeting and summarise your strengths. Panel members will ask questions to establish views and expectations of the role. Your Independent Assessor will also be there to support you throughout the meeting, so you'll never be alone!

You'll have your own opportunity to ask any questions you may have before the panel ends, so if you have any queries about fostering, please let us know! The panel will then discuss your application and make their recommendation, which you'll be informed of on the day of panel. However, it's worth remembering that the recommendation is just that: a recommendation. Once panel has concluded, Unity Foster Care collates all the information and sends it to our Agency Decision Maker, who makes the final decision.

What will the fostering panel ask me?

At your Fostering Panel, you'll be asked some general questions; such as why you want to become a foster carer, what you learned from the assessment process and other specific questions based on your application. The panel may also ask how you would manage certain situations and how you will ensure you make time for yourself, as fostering can at times be intense (though also very rewarding!)

The overall objective for the panel is to identify people who can provide a child with a safe, nurturing family home and a secure base. Most importantly, we look for someone who will be committed to the young person, and not give up if their behaviour is a little challenging, usually as a result of difficult past experiences.

Feedback from approved foster carers:

“Damien was very welcoming and explained the process thoroughly. All the questions were relevant and we thought we both were able to answer them to the best of our abilities. We did not feel pressured into answering the questions and answered at our own pace”

“I felt that the Panel chair explained everything that I was required to know in great detail. They showed a great deal of patience”

“We were very nervous prior to the Panel but were instantly made to feel at ease and the whole process went quickly and smoothly”

“I actually felt really good afterwards”