To ensure all children and young people placed with our foster carers are safe and secure, there is an important, in-depth assessment process that all applicants must go through before being approved as a foster carer. The Fostering Regulations tell us we have to assess people within 8 months and how we should do this so this is the process you will experience wherever you go…….however we know that deciding to foster is something that is life changing so we aim to assess people between 4-6 months and consider them part of our team from day one!
Step 1 - Initial Enquiry
If you are interested in becoming a carer and would like to find out more information, our staff would be happy to speak with you. There are several ways you can contact us:
- Fill in the enquiry form below
- Call us on 0800 634 5300
- Email us at email@example.com
Step 2 - Information Pack
Thank you for your interest in fostering with CANW. We are delighted that you are looking to be a foster carer and are considering your future with CANW. As social workers, support staff and parents, we fully appreciate the role of foster carers in bringing about positive change in children’s lives.
Our information pack is designed to give you an introduction to fostering with CANW in order to help you make the life changing, but very rewarding, decision to become a foster carer.
Step 3 - Initial Visit
After receiving your information pack if you would like to progress you application further we will arrange for a member of our team to organise an initial visit.
During this visit they will discuss the process of becoming a foster carer and answer any queries you may have.
Step 4 - Application Pack
After your initial visit you will be required to fill out an application form. This will be sent out to you shortly after your visit.
Step 5 - Assessment Process
Once you have completed your application pack, you will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker to undertake a full assessment with you. The report they produce is known as the ‘Form F’. This report will cover your background, relationships and partnerships, your support network, children in the household or those living elsewhere, other family members who may live with you, a description of family life and your experiences. We will also ask for information on your financial stability. The assessment process takes place over a number of home visits and involves all members of the household.
During your assessment you will be asked to attend the 2 day Skills to Foster training course which are usually held on a Saturday. The course covers the many aspects of fostering and allows you an opportunity to meet existing foster carers and members of the fostering panel and ask any questions you may have. It is also a great opportunity to meet other people going through the assessment process.
During the assessment CANW will request a variety of statutory checks and references that will have been discussed with you at your initial home visit and which you will have consented to. These include:
- Enhanced DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check
- Local Authority Checks
- Employer references including any previous employment that has involved working with children or vulnerable adults
- Personal references, referees will ideally need to have known you for over 5 years and will be visited by your Social Worker
- School reports on children within the household
- Medical reports from your GP
- Overseas checks where applicants have lived or worked abroad
- Ex-partners (except in exceptional circumstances)
- Grown-up children and children from a previous relationship
Step 6 - Approval Panel
Once your Form F and all the checks are completed you will have the opportunity to read the report and discuss it with your Supervising Social Worker. You will then be given a date to attend the fostering panel where your report will be considered by the members of the panel. The panel consists of a number of independent professionals and staff from CANW. They will ask you and your Supervising Social Worker relevant questions about your Form F, ask you about the assessment process and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
Thinking of Fostering? Call us? 0800 634 5300
What happens once you are approved?
Finding the right match between a child and a Foster Carer is an essential part of the placement process. Local Authorities from across the Northwest contact CANW when they have a child or sibling group that they need a foster placement for (this is known as a referral). We have a dedicated placement team that take full details about each child referred; including their age and background, their cultural needs, any additional support needs they may have, where they are at school and the arrangements to see their families.
For each referral we receive, we consider all of our available Foster Carers to see if any ‘match’ the requirements of the placement. Consideration of panel approval status, distance to school, relevant experience and family dynamics are all discussed. If we feel you could meet the needs of the young person being referred, your pro le is sent to the Local Authority which details you, your family and experiences.
If the Local Authority feels you could be a suitable match to the child, you will be contacted to discuss the placement in detail. The full referral information will be shared with you and you will be given an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Foster Carers are under no obligation to accept any placement. If a Foster Carer does want to be considered for the placement, CANW will liaise with the Local Authority and send copies of the completed Form F.
If the placement is approved, CANW will work with you and the Local Authority to organise arrangements for the child (or children) to visit/ move into your home. Wherever possible CANW will try and plan placements, however some placements are required as an emergency and a child may need to move into your home the same day.
We ask Foster Carers to make a booklet or small video (on mobile phone). This is given to the local authority Social Worker to share so that children can see your faces and home environment before they knock on your front door.
The Supervising Social Worker and a member of the support team will visit you and the young person to talk about settling in and to ensure you all know about what additional support and activities are available for them.