If you or you and your partner find appeal in taking in a foster child and becoming a foster parent or foster carer, all you need to do is inform a social worker or call up social services and inform them of such. What’s going to happen is a series of tests and assessments that will take some time and effort, but the rewards will definitely be worth it. You and your partner (if you are part of a couple)’s capability to take care of children will be measured. This is not to put you down or anything but rather to make sure that you would be a foster child will be in safe and capable hands.
If you do not know yet the process on how to become a foster carer, the first thing that is usually done is a visit from the social worker who is part of the ‘recruitment” department (the department in charge of recruiting foster carers). At this first visit, the social worker will discuss with you the basics of fostering, the process and answer whatever questions you may have as well. If you pass the initial visit and want to proceed, social services will then notify you that you will have to undergo some kind of training that you need to complete. It’s usually known as a pre approval course. During this time, you may want to start the formal application process as well. It depends on the social services in your areas, but generally, what is entailed in the application process are the following: a full physical check up to make sure you are physically fit to care for a child need that you do not have any conditions that may put a child at risk, police checks, where forms of identification are asked from you. Character references will also be required (at least two of them) and these references usually ask to write a letter and be interviewed.
Similar to the adoption process, a series of assessments will be conducted. A social worker will be assigned to get details and work closely with you during this process, conducting interviews, checks. This can take several weeks to a few months to be completed. You need to keep in mind that your relationship and communication with the social worker assigned to your application should be an open and honest one. He or she will also be monitoring and interviewing other members of your household, if applicable. At this stage, you can still withdraw your application any time.
After the series of assessments have been completed, the next step in the process is usually the last one. This is commonly known as the fostering panel and this is where you will know if your application has been approved or declined. The decision makers are composed of people who work in social services and are considered experts in fostering. There are instances where you are needed by the panel to answer further questions, but in some, there is no need for you to be present during their discussion. You will then be notified if you have been approved to become a foster carer or not.