How do I foster? Home Fostering in Warwickshire How do I foster? “The assessment process was really thorough, but also necessary. As a foster carer you are responsible for looking after other people’s children and the fostering team need to be able to give you the right support and best match you with the children in care”. Warwickshire foster carer, Andrea. The process If you would like to find out more: Register your interest in fostering online Call freephone fostering on 0800 408 1556 When we have received your online form or you have contacted us by telephone, we will then send you a brochure containing information on fostering in Warwickshire. We will telephone you to gather information and discuss your interest in fostering to assess your suitability. During this call, we will give you more details about the different types of fostering and together we will decide if you would benefit from a home visit. Following this phone call, we will send you a further information pack. The further information pack will tell you about the skills you need to become a carer, the tasks involved in caring for a child and the support and training you will receive when you foster for Warwickshire. The home visit provides you with an opportunity to discuss your own personal circumstances and to reach a decision with the social worker on whether or not you wish to continue with the first stage of your application. We will also tell you about the assessment process to become a carer. References In order to proceed further, you will need to give your consent for us to take up references. These will be in the form of three personal references (a family member and two friends who know you well). We will also take up statutory references from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), children’s services (previously social services), probation, health trust, and your GP. The DBS references are important and help us to identify anyone who may have serious offences particularly in relation to children. It is most important that we ensure all children are protected and safe from harm. We will also need to take up references from any ex-partners with whom you have cohabited in the past. All references need to be satisfactory. They form an important part of your application and you will need to consider these carefully. Preparation Training While the references are being taken up you will be invited to attend a short course called Journey to Foster. This course offers you an opportunity to learn more about fostering. The courses are run locally and are offered at weekends and during the week. The course comprises a total of two sessions and each potential foster carer will need to attend. The course contributes to your assessment. Assessment A social worker will make arrangements to begin your assessment. This will happen alongside your references and preparation training. You and your family will be visited at home and we will work with you to gather information to inform the assessment. We will meet with you individually and as a family to explore aspects of your life to ensure it is the right time for you to foster. This is an in depth process, but is all to ensure we have the right people to care for Warwickshire children. You will be asked to complete homework tasks and to prepare for your sessions. You may also be encouraged to attend training during the assessment. You will be guided through this process by the assessing social worker who will write a detailed report about your application to foster. You will see the final report and sign it and have an opportunity to make your own comments. Approval When your assessment and references are completed, you will be invited to attend Fostering Panel. Fostering Panel is a group of experienced professionals and carers that have read all of your information. You will be invited to attend panel, who after chatting with you, will make a recommendation as to whether to approve you as Warwickshire foster carers. Once approved by the agency decision maker, we will confirm you are then officially a foster carer for Warwickshire County Council. You will then have an induction and be allocated a Fostering Social Worker who will offer you support and guidance as you take your next steps on your fostering journey. How long does it take to be approved? The time the initial process takes can vary, but we aim for you to be ready to foster within 4-6 months of your initial enquiry. This can also depend on the time and availability you have.