Our application and assessment process takes around six months. During this time we will spend time getting to know you and will check that you have the right aptitude to become a foster carer. We will also ensure that you understand the needs of our children and young people. We will support you through every step of the process from the application to approval. The key stages are set out below.
Most people want to start with getting all the basics at an information session either online or at a local venue. This is where you will meet our social workers, hear all about the fostering basics and get to ask any questions. You will also hear from our experienced foster carers who jointly present the sessions with the recruitment team.
A recruitment team social worker will visit you at home, or do a virtual visit if you prefer, to discuss your personal circumstances and to check that your home is suitable for fostering. You will discuss fostering in a little more depth and talk about if you are ready to progress to the next stage.
The Skills to Foster preparation course is required training nationwide to help prospective foster carers gain information about what is involved with becoming a foster carer. The training involves working as a group, which consists of fostering team members, existing foster carers and other applicants like yourself. The training looks at:
There will be discussion and group work with other applicants in a supportive environment, which promotes learning with fun. The team can help you with any requirements and setting up to attend the course.
To be a foster carer you and your family have to be assessed. There are two stages to the assessment. This is a national requirement for all applicants.
After the preparation course, you need to fill out an application form to be assessed to become a foster carer. We will carry out checks and references on you and other members of your household. This is a legal requirement and includes medical and police checks, employer reference as well as personal references from people who know you well. Once we have done this, we will make a decision within 10 working days on whether to proceed to the second stage.
Your dedicated social worker will work with you and support you through the fostering assessment process. Together, you will explore your life experiences and background as well as your day-to-day lifestyle, beliefs and home life. They will discuss the skills you have, how a child would fit into your family home and how fostering will affect you and your family. The completed assessment will be a report that you will have time to read before the report is presented before the fostering panel.
The assessment process will end with you attending a fostering panel. This consists of up to seven people from our children’s services, education and health departments, plus councillors and an independent chairperson. They will look at the report and talk to you and your assessor to decide whether they can recommend you as a foster carer for Islington.
If we feel that you not ready at this time to progress to the fostering panel, we will talk to you about this and explain our decision openly and transparently.