Fostering is a life-changing decision, for you and the children you’ll foster. It is important that you understand the process and what to expect from us as you begin your fostering journey. We’ll be here every step of the way to give you the support and training you’ll need.
How long does it take?
The fostering approval process takes around eight months from your initial enquiry through to approval and is it’s really important to help to determine whether foster caring is right for you. We also need to make sure that we’re placing children in a stable environment.
To help you get a better understanding of how the fostering process works and what's involved we've compiled a quick five-step guide. This process is explained in more detail during our Wakefield Introduction to Foster Training Workshops and during your Form F assessment.
We’ll support you through the whole process, right from the application process through to and including when you are fostering a child.
1. Home visit
After your initial enquiry, if you met the criteria you’ll be visited at your home. This is an ideal opportunity for you and any family members to get to know us and for us to talk to you about fostering in more depth.
2. Application, checks and references
If you’re assessed as ready to proceed, we’ll invite you to attend the 'Wakefield Introduction to Foster Training', where you can learn all about fostering, the children who need foster care and have the opportunity to meet experienced Wakefield foster carers.
We ask you to complete a fostering application form and carry out background checks with the police, your GP, as well as the local authority and services where you live. We also ask for references from employers and people who know you well.
Once the necessary checks have been completed we’ll start the fostering assessment process. This includes around eight to ten home visits and from these visits, we work together to put a report together ready for the fostering panel.
4. Fostering panel
Along with your assessing social worker, you’ll attend a fostering panel for your application to be considered. The panel will make a recommendation and our agency decision maker decides whether you can be approved as a foster carer.
If successful, we’ll discuss matching you with a child that best suits your family's circumstances and this can happen quite quickly in most instances.
You’ll have a family placement link worker who will support you throughout the assessment and approval process. Once a suitable match has been made, they will visit you regularly to talk to you about how you and the foster child are settling in, and to discuss what ongoing support and help you might need.