Starting with an informal chat with a friendly member of our team, you could soon be taking your first steps towards a new, rewarding lifestyle, creating positive futures for children with disabilities and complex medical needs.
We’ll meet with you in your home to discuss your interest in fostering and answer any questions you may have. We’ll make sure that your home environment is suitable and guide you through your application if we both decide the time is right.
One of our friendly assessors will meet with you to discuss your background, home, lifestyle and support networks.
Our preparation training will help to equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary for your fostering role.
Your assessment will be presented to our fostering panel and a decision will be made on your suitability to foster.
Once you are approved as a foster carer, our thorough matching process will ensure that the needs of any children referred to you are compatible with your skills and experiences. Your allocated social worker will liaise closely with you to ensure the best possible match and will arrange any necessary additional training.
What references and checks will we carry out?
As part of your assessment, we will need to make sure there is no reason why you might not currently be a suitable applicant.
Disclosure and barring service checks (DBS, formerly CRB) will be undertaken on anyone in the household over the age of 18.
You may still foster if you have a criminal record however it does depend on the type or nature of the offence. Please disclose any potential records early in your enquiry to avoid disappointment.
If you have lived abroad, we will also conduct similar/equivalent checks to the relevant countries' criminal record databases.
We carry out local authority residency checks for addresses you have lived at for the last ten years which include enquiries to local authorities and their child protection records (including previous involvement with services for children or vulnerable adults).
We will support you to attend a full Health and Medical Assessment to be completed by your GP. This will assess whether you have any health conditions that might affect your capacity to care for a child with additional needs. If you do have an underlying condition, you will not be automatically disqualified from fostering, and we will consider you manage your health at home.
Your Assessor will complete a guided assessment and checklist to ensure that your home environment is suitable for a child with additional needs and is well-maintained for their best wellbeing. You may be set some requirements or suggestions to help ensure you are ready for a child to move in.
Pets are an important part of many families, and also can be fantastic therapy for young people in care. To ensure that there is no risk involved to a child with additional needs, a safety questionnaire will be completed.
We are unfortunately unable to accept applications from families who own a banned breed of dog under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
We will seek to attain a number of references from people you know and have worked with to give their opinion on your ability to care for children.
- Personal References: 3 personal references for a single carer or 2 personal references each for a 2 parent household. Of these a maximum of 2 references total can be from people you are related to.
- Employment References: We will seek references from current/most recent employers, as well as from any employment where you might have worked with children, young people or vulnerable adults.
- Ex-Partner from Significant Relationship Reference(s): For any previous significant relationships (e.g. a partner you have previously been with for a period of over 1 year, or someone you have had a child with) we will need to seek a reference with your permission.
Where this is simply not appropriate we can take alternative steps to seek an alternative reference, and this will be discussed in your assessment.
If you have children or young people under 18 in your care at home, there are additional references that we may seek from those who know them. We will ask for Educational References from their current school or college, and/or from any Nursery or Health Visitors involved in their lives.