Have you applied to foster a child? Here’s what to expect!

Becoming a foster carer is a huge decision, so when you finally take the plunge and hit the apply button, it’s only natural to feel both anxious and excited for what’s to come. We’ve put together a brief overview of the foster carer application process, so you know what to expect over the coming months!

First things first: apply!

If you haven’t done so yet, the first step is to send your foster parent application. You can do this via our quick application page, calling our team on 0333 77 22 333, or emailing hello@unityfostercare.co.uk!

Telephone screening

Providing you meet our minimum requirements (a spare bedroom, aged 25+ and a UK resident), we’ll give you a call to introduce ourselves and perform a telephone screening. This is just a basic questionnaire to find out more about you, your background and why you want to become a foster carer.

Home visit

Once we’ve completed the telephone screening, we’ll organise a date to visit you and your home. The home visit enables us to check your property and ensure it’s suitable for foster children to live in, whilst answering any more queries you may have. Don’t be afraid to ask us anything you want to know – there’s no such thing as a stupid question!

Application pack

If you’re happy with everything and wish to proceed, we’ll leave you an application pack! The foster carer application pack requests specific details, such as references, employment history and DBS information – but don’t worry, we’ll help you through it. We can sit and complete the form with you, or we can leave it with you and collect the following week.

Assessment process

Now we’ve received your application pack, we can begin the foster carer assessment process! Whilst our admin team are working hard in the background completing relevant checks, an Independent Assessor will schedule regular visits to your home and create a detailed profile of you and your lifestyle, which is called a Form-F document. This document is a bit like a ‘day in the life of’ – but for you! It will include everything from your daily activities to your childhood, and really get into the nitty gritty of who you are as a person.

Panel

Today’s the day! After your Form-F is complete and all the relevant documents and checks are finished, it’s now time to go to panel. Panel comprises of a group of independent professionals, who thoroughly read your Form-F and provide a recommendation to us, the fostering agency. They advise whether they believe your skills, experience and passion will benefit the life of a foster child, and raise any queries they may have. It may seem scary, but our assessors are lovely people, and we’ll be with you the entire time!

Final decision

After the panel provide their recommendation, the final decision goes to the Agency Decision Maker (ADM). The ADM reviews all your information, the recommendation from the panel and any other contributing factors, and aims to provide a final decision within 12-working days from your panel date. We’ll keep you updated with any news as soon as we hear, so you can just sit back and relax!

Approval

Once you’re approved, you’ll be assigned a Supervising Social Worker (check out the full team here!) who will be your main support throughout your fostering journey. They’ll regularly check-in with you, offer advice and assist you with whatever you need, and keep you updated with any news or events happening at Unity Foster Care!

Over the years, our foster carer application process has been streamlined to ensure a smooth and straightforward start to your fostering journey, and our friendly team are always right there by your side! Whether you’re single, married, a member of the LGBTQ+ community or aged 60+, we welcome all applicants who can provide a safe, loving home to a child in need. If you’d like to start your application process, click here or call 0333 77 22 333 today!