If you’re thinking about fostering for Derbyshire, that’s brilliant! Good foster carers really make a difference to local children and young people, and carers also find it very rewarding for themselves and their families.
You’ll be supported throughout your application to become a foster carer, and our friendly fostering team will be with you every step of the way.
Becoming a foster carer is a big and life-changing decisions so we want to make sure you have all the information and support you need to take the next step. Here’s what will happen on your fostering journey with us.
The fostering process
1. Talk to us about fostering
If you’re new to the idea of fostering we’d recommend spending some time having a look on our website, signing up to find out more about fostering, or attending one of our fostering information events. If you’re interested in starting your fostering journey, the next step is to complete the online enquiry form or give us a call. Our friendly recruitment team will arrange to speak to you to give you more information and can then arrange to come and have a chat at your home.
2. Your home visit
The first home visit is all about getting to know you and allows us to give you a more thorough understanding of what to expect from fostering if you want to proceed with your application. We’ll also explain in detail the various stages of the application itself, right through to welcoming your first foster child into your home.
3. Application form
The next step is to complete an application form. It will include basic information like contact details and an overview of your situation. Then you’ll be assigned an assessing social worker who will work with you on your foster carer assessment. If you don’t love paperwork, or struggle to fill out forms – don’t worry, we’ll be with you every step of the way if you need support.
4. Foster carer assessment
The information on the assessment will be used to support your fostering application. Your social worker will work with you on the application called a ‘Form F’. The assessment is thorough to ensure that becoming a foster carer is the right decision for everyone involved, including any future children placed with you. Whilst it might seem intense, most applicants find it very useful and it’s important for you to understand the impact and responsibilities of the role.
5. Skills to Foster training
We’ll give you all the support and training you need to be the best foster carer for a local child. Our training is free of charge and takes places at a local venue or online. You’ll take part in mandatory ‘Skills to Foster’ training, which will equip you with all the skills required to care for a child or young person.
6. Fostering Panel meeting
A Fostering Panel carries out a final check of all the information that has been gathered throughout the assessment process and makes its recommendation on whether you’d be a good fit to foster for Derbyshire. The panel is made up of a group of fostering, educational and care professionals.
7. Your first foster child
Once you’ve completed your Skills to Foster course and the panel has approved your application, you’ll be ready for your first child. Our team will use all the information you’ve provided to match you with a child and we do everything we can to make your placement a success, which starts with making sure the match is right. As a newly-approved foster carers you might be matched with a foster child immediately, especially if they have particular skills or there’s high demand in their local area, or it might take days or weeks.