Becoming an approved foster carer can take between four to six months.
This is because we have to complete a comprehensive assessment to make sure that we both agree:
- Fostering is the right move for you
- You are ready to take on the challenges of helping to change a young life
Steps to becoming a foster carer
1. Initial enquiry
If you're thinking about applying to become a foster carer with us, you should complete our enquiry form. We will contact you with you within one working day of expressing an interest.
2. Initial information visit
We will arrange a one-to-one information visit with you, or you can attend one of our drop-in sessions.
3. Applying to become a foster carer
Following the initial one-to-one information visit, we will send you an application form.
4. Home visit and initial assessment
Once you’ve submitted your application, a social worker will visit you at home to start the assessment process. Together you will discuss a range of topics – from your motivation to foster, to your life experiences and your family and friends networks.
At this stage we can match you with a foster buddy. A buddy is an experienced foster carer who can give support, advice and guidance on your own journey to fostering.
5. Skills to Foster course
Subject to the initial assessment you will be invited to attend this course. It will give you a thorough understanding of the needs of children who are in care and the role of fostering including the lifestyle changes it brings for families and friends.
6. Full assessment
This is a more in depth assessment of you and your family. It takes place over several sessions with a social worker who will write a detailed assessment report for the Fostering Panel.
7. Fostering Panel
This is a team of people experienced in fostering and adoption who you will meet. The panel will consider your assessment report and make a recommendation to our Agency Decision Maker (ADM) – a senior officer in Norfolk County Council’s Children’s Services department.
8. Final approval
Once approved, you will be allocated a supervising social worker.
Working closely with a social worker is an essential part of fostering. They will:
- Arrange your training and support plan and identify children who would be a good match for you and your loved ones
- Visit you regularly, provide professional guidance and offer nurture so that you can give the best care for our children and young people
- Be by your side from the time you step into your new role, and for as long as you are a foster carer with us