Start your Fostering Journey with Park Foster Care
Whether you’re new to fostering or an existing carer our team is looking forward to hearing from you, answering some of your questions, providing you with information and supporting you every step of the way. On average it can take four to six months from your initial enquiry to being approved as a Foster Carer, and here we guide you through the steps:
Make an Enquiry
Enquiring about becoming a foster carer couldn’t be easier. Simply call us on 0800 169 4552 or contact us today and register your interest, one of our friendly team will be in touch within 24hrs and arrange a convenient time for an informal chat.
Arrange a Home Visit
Our home visit provides a great opportunity for us to get to know each other better and will really inform you about fostering. There’s lots to talk about and we’re keen to learn more about your interest in becoming a foster carer. We’ll be able to explain the rewards and practicalities of fostering and to talk through the ‘becoming a foster carer’ process too. The visit is really informative and on average a home visit can take anything from 2 – 3hrs but it’s whatever you need it to be.
Top Tip: Make a list of your questions before the visit. You might have family, children or friends who have questions too so talk to them. We’re happy to discuss all thoughts, worries or queries.
Skills to Foster
Following a positive home visit we will invite you to attend our FREE ‘Skills to Foster’ training course, which has been designed to provide you with a range of learning modules. Providing you with a realistic insight about what it means to be a foster carer, what children in care need and how Park can support you as future foster carers in providing the best outcomes for children. It’s a great opportunity to meet the Park team, talk to existing foster carers and meet others, like you, starting their fostering journey with Park.
Starting the Assessment Process
Following completion of an application form, we will carry out extensive checks including work, personal and local authority references. A medical assessment and Disclosure Barring Checks (criminal reference check) are also undertaken. We will help guide you through this process with some additional support from our dedicated administration team.
In preparation for the next stage we’ll be asking you to contribute to the assessment by completing information such as family tree’s, Ecomap (support networks map) and ‘My Life Story’. We’ll provide you with templates and guidance notes making them really simple to complete but if you need any help we’re here to assist you.
Finally, we will allocate an Assessing Social Worker to carry out an assessment of your potential ability to care for someone else’s child. This assessment will involve about 10 visits (depending on your family circumstances) and will result in a written report called a Form F Assessment.
Prepare to Care Group
We really want you to feel supported through the process of becoming a foster carer so this additional meeting is a great place to catch up again with your skills to foster group, learn about our training and local support groups and to ask for any advice or help with the assessment process.
Now that your training and assessment is complete you’ll be invited to attend our fostering panel, where the report will be presented for their consideration and recommendations. The panel members are made up of professionals from various sectors all with extensive fostering experience. Your assessing social worker will be there by your side to support you on the day.
Once our Agency Decision Maker has signed off your approval, usually within 10 working days, we can then assign a supervising social worker to support you in your role as foster carer. We’ll also arrange for an induction session helping you start your incredible journey as a foster carer.
Approved to Foster
Congratulations – you’re now a Park foster carer! Our Family Finder will work with you and your supervising social worker to create your carer profile, this is one of our matching tools and your profile is shared with local authority placement teams. We also have a child friendly version of the carer profile so that we can share this with any children coming to live with you. Our Family Finder will contact you when any children or young people are referred to us who we think would make a good fit with you and your family.