How can I become a foster carer?
Steps to becoming a foster carer?
Below is a breakdown of the steps you will have to take to become a foster carer. The whole process takes between four to six months.
Contact Southend Fostering Services either by phone, email or in person. (for contact details please see related services at the bottom of the page)
A recruitment officer will then send you out an information pack which will give you general information about fostering for Southend On Sea Borough Council. The pack includes a contact number so that you can call the recruitment officer to ask any questions.
At the back of the information pack you will find a blue form titled 'Foster Carer Initial Enquiry Form'. You need to read the pack, complete the form and send it back to Southend Fostering Services in the pre-paid envelope provided.
This form enables Southend Fostering Services to make statutory checks to discover if you are known to Southend On Sea Borough Council, the probation service, the education authorities or Southend's health visitors in any way.
Once the checks have been made a Supervising Social Worker from the Fostering Service will call you to make an appointment for a first visit to see you at your home to discuss the ways fostering will affect your family specifically.
If following your visit you wish to formally apply to foster then you will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker. The social worker will do two things as part of their assessment of you.
You and your partner (if applicable) will be invited to the three day 'Skills To Foster' training course. This course is mandatory for both yourself and your partner (if applicable) to attend. You and your partner (if applicable) will learn about the reasons children come into care, the issues they have faced and the behaviours they can exhibit. You will also learn about the ways in which you can support the children and the help and support you will receive to do this.
The Supervising Social Worker will visit you at home on a number of occasions over 3 - 4 months to discuss your life experience so far, your parenting experiences and any issues and difficulties you may have had to face. After the home visit the social worker will complete a form (Form F) to account for the information found out during the home visits. As part of Form F you will need to provide six references.
The Supervising Social Worker will collate all the gathered information into a Fostering Panel report and set a date for you application to be heard at the Fostering Panel.
Both you and your Supervising Social Worker will attend the Fostering Panel. The panel is made up of ten independent individuals all of whom have a link with Fostering. They could be Social Workers, Foster Carers or adults who were looked after as children themselves. The Fostering Panel members will read the report submitted by your Supervising Social Worker, they will then speak to your Supervising Social Worker before asking you to clarify any questions they may have. The Panel will then make a recommendation to Southend on Sea Borough Council with regard to your suitability to foster.
If successful the Council will invite you to become a Foster Carer for the Fostering Service and very shortly after this you can expect to have children placed with you.
To view the Foster Information Pack, Adoption and Fostering Equality Impact Assessment report or the Statement of Purpose for Fostering, please go to the related downloads section on the right of this page.
Alternatively, contact us using the details on the right or complete the downloadable Foster Carer Enquiry form found in the related downloads section.
Last updated: 16th May 2012