How to become a foster carer
The approval process is comprehensive and intensive, but being a foster carer is an important and often challenging role, and it is essential that both you and the fostering service feel sure that it is right for you. It can feel daunting, but our social workers are highly experienced and will do everything they can to help you feel reassured during the assessment process. It usually takes about six to nine months to become an approved foster carer.
You can find out more about the assessment process by coming along to an information evening or by talking to a social worker at the enquiry stage.
Contact us by filling in the online enquiry form. A social worker will be in touch within five working days to discuss any questions you may have and to go through our fostering criteria.
You may be invited to one of our open evenings where you will be able to hear more about fostering and the process of becoming a foster carer for Norfolk Fostering Service. You will have the opportunity to meet one of our social workers and experienced foster carers and ask any questions you may have.
After the information evening you will be given a Registration of Interest Form (ROIF). Once you have submitted the completed form a social worker will contact you to arrange a time to visit you in your home to carry out an initial assessment.
Stage 1 (1-2 months)
At the initial assessment a social worker will ask you for information about you and your family, write a report and discuss your application with a manager.
At this stage a number of checks will be made, including police and medical records. If your application proceeds you will be invited to attend a ‘Skills to Foster’ training course. The ‘Skills to Foster’ course is a preparation course which is designed to help you think about the challenges and realities of being a foster carer. You will be able to find out more about the ‘Skills to Foster’ course at the information evening.
Once you have attended ‘The Skills to Foster’ course, if the decision is made to proceed, you will be undertake a full assessment.
Stage 2 (4 months)
The main assessment will include about 8 visits from your social worker to discuss you, your family and your experiences of looking after children.
A detailed report is prepared and shared with you, before being presented to the fostering panel for a recommendation. Fostering panel is made up of a group of people all of whom have experience in fostering and adoption.
What happens next?
Once you have been to fostering panel and become an approved foster carer, you will be transferred to one of our supervision teams. You will be allocated a supervising social worker who will work closely with you to identify children who will be a good match for you and your family. They will make regular visits to your home to talk about the work you are doing with the children who have been placed with you. They will help you to manage any difficulties you may be experiencing and identify any training needs you may have.
Working together with your supervising social worker is an important part of the foster carers role and they will get to know you and your family very well.
How long does the process take?
It usually takes about six to nine months to become an approved foster carer.
The approval process is comprehensive and intensive, but being a foster carer is an important and often challenging role, and it is essential that both you and the fostering service feel sure that it is right for you.
Our social workers are highly experienced and will do everything they can to help you feel reassured during this process.