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At Nexus Fostering it can take around four months to assess and approve foster carers. As you might imagine, when it comes to providing the highest quality care to vulnerable children and young people, there are formal procedures we need to take you through to make sure we recruit people with the right set of skills, life experience, and aptitude.
Whilst fostering is a truly life changing and fulfilling career, it can also be extremely challenging. We need to make sure you are properly prepared for the role, for the benefit of you and children you may come to care for in the future. Here is an outline of a typical fostering assessment:
This is when you make initial contact with us to express your interest in becoming a foster carer. During this initial contact, we will ask some basic questions. This is an informal chat where you can ask us any questions you may have so you feel more knowledgeable about fostering and what’s involved.
If you’re keen to proceed, we will arrange for one of our supervising social workers to contact you and have a more detailed chat. Following this discussion the social worker will decide if it is appropriate to make an appointment with you to visit you at your home.
One of our supervising social workers will come to meet with you at your home at a time to suit you and your family. This usually takes a couple of hours. This meeting is an opportunity for us and you to explore in more detail why you'd like to become a foster carer and the skills and personal qualities you can bring to the role.
Our supervising social worker will write a short report about their visit and observations. The report will highlight what we see as your experience and the strengths you may bring to fostering and any training you may need, or possible minor modifications to your home. A decision will be made about taking your interest further.
The next stage is for you to be invited to join our next Skills to Foster training course. This training will be interesting and insightful, and sometimes may be an emotional experience. Skills to Foster is part of your assessment and will help to prepare you to become foster carers. It will cover in detail the fostering task, such as working with the child's family, child development, managing challenging behaviour, promoting the education and health of children and preparing young people for leaving care. During the course, you will have the opportunity to meet other foster carers and potential foster carers as well as our social workers and some fostered young people.
We will begin your Form F competency-based assessment once you have completed the skills to foster training course. This usually comprises around 8-12 visits to you at your home and takes place over several weeks. During these visits, you will be encouraged to tell us openly and honestly about yourself, your background, experiences, and skills. There will be homework and whilst your assessor will closely support you during this time, you will be expected to complete tasks on time and to the best of your ability.
You will be invited to the Fostering Panel where your social worker will present your assessment to them, and they will make a recommendation as to your suitability as a prospective foster carer. It is a formal meeting where the case for you to become foster carers will be made jointly by you and your assessor. The fostering panel is not intended to make you feel anxious, but we know from experience that most applicants still do all the same! The fostering panel will consider your application to foster and will make a decision whether or not to recommend you. You will be told the decision at that meeting.
The fostering panel only make a recommendation as to whether you should be approved or not as foster carers. The formal decision is the responsibility of the ‘agency decision maker’ who is the person in Nexus Fostering who has been notified as such to Ofsted, which is part of the Department for Education. At Nexus Fostering, the agency decision maker is Grace Wyatt, our Director.
Once approved you will be put forward to our local authority partners as a suitable match for young people in your area and your fostering journey will officially begin!