The Application Process...
Our assessment approach enables United to find out about you and your family and to make a decision about whether or not you should become approved Foster Carers with United.
It is an extremely important process to ensure that all children and young people placed in foster care are safe, secure and can reach their full potential.
UFS follows the Fostering Regulations Stage 1 and 2 (sometimes carried out parallel) to carry out the requisite checks and testimonials of references. The steps we follow to carry out the process is guided by the Fostering Regulations and are as follows:
Making an initial enquiry is easy and this can be done by email or by phone. You may email us using firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call us directly on 07552155121. You will be able to speak to a member of the team, over the telephone to answer any questions you have and to discuss whether fostering is right for you and your family.
We will contact you within 3 working days from your initial interest to complete an initial enquiry form with you to find out more about your reasons for considering fostering, your previous experience of caring for children and your housing space and the time you have to care for children. The information would inform us whether you are a good candidate for fostering. Following this call we will discuss your application as a team and make a decision as to whether to pursuit the enquiry, if it has been decided to progress we will arrange a home visit to come and meet you and talk further. We hope to ensure the initial visit will take place within 15 working days of your Expression of Interest being received.
Initial Home Visit
One of our team members will visit you to discuss your interest in fostering further with you, to gather some background information about you and your family. We will also check if you have appropriate bedroom space in your home and discuss Health & Safety. This will also be an opportunity for you to ask any questions. This is called an “Initial Home Visit”. If the visit is positive application form can be completed following the home visit.
The Skills-to- Foster Preparation Training
You will be required to attend a three day course called Skills to Foster, which is fun and informative. Depending on when the training course starts, you may be invited to attend the course before the assessment begins or after or during the assessment. The facilitation of this course is managed by United managers/ social workers with additional support and input from approved foster carers and young people that have experienced the care system. The trainers will produce feedback which will be considered as part of your application.
Assessment (8 – 10 weeks)
After the home visit and upon the decision to proceed with the application to foster, we will send an application pack to the applicants which would include the following documents: Application Form, Assessment Information and Application Guidance, and DBS Check Information.
The assessment stage will involve a couple of inspections/checks at different levels - such as the local authority, probation, finance, employment, and education history, along with carrying out the personal references. The Health Assessment of the applicant/s with their respective doctor is also a mandatory check. The DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check will also be carried out on all applicant/s and their family members residing in the household who are above 18 years of age. Upon submission of all these forms and checks to the agency, which will be reported to the Registered Manager, he will take the final call for continuing the application ahead or terminating it at this stage. Once it is decided to proceed to Stage 2, a qualified Social Worker will then be assigned to carry out the full fostering assessment, namely the Form F. In any case, the applicants will be informed of the decision within 10 days of receipt of the final safeguarding check.
You will be informed of either decision within 10 working days of the final safeguarding checks being received.
Assessment (up to 3 months)
A qualified Social Worker will need to visit your home to gather information about you and your family and to provide you with information about fostering and United. Amongst other things this provides information about you and your family of origin, significant personal relationships you have had and your current family, your health, education, employment, support network, accommodation and lifestyle, financial circumstances, income and expenditure, the reasons you wish to foster, your understanding of fostering and the way it will affect you and your family.
At the end of the assessment, the Form F report is presented to the Fostering Panel. You will need to attend the Fostering Panel to meet with the Panel members. They will consider your assessment and will then make a recommendation about your approval as a Foster Carer(s); the final decision is made by the Agency's Decision Maker.
Whilst each assessment is an individual process and the length of time an assessment takes varies to some extent, we endeavour to ensure that the Stage 2 process is completed within three months.
Throughout stage 2, qualified and experienced members of United will be available to advise and support you. It is our expectation that you take a full positive part in your assessment.
If you are currently fostering for an agency and wish to transfer to United stage 1 and stage 2 can happen concurrently. Should you have children and young people in placement, protocol meetings will form part of Stage 1.
Once you are approved as a foster carer, you will get an allocated supervising social worker who will give comprehensive induction training to you. The induction will include information about United, different policies/procedures, multi-agency working, fostering network roles, and training opportunities with United. As a foster carer, you will sign a Foster Carer Agreement that sets out United’s expectations about fostering role in line with Schedule 5 of the Fostering Regulations 2011.