Fostering panel

(12 Posts)
hbr1989 Fri 30-Nov-12 09:45:21

I am going to panel a week on wednesday and am quite nervous about the day. Does anyone have any experiences of going to panel that they would be willing to share?

I am confident in my social worker and happy with the report she has written. I'm sure that I will be fine and get approved but ive still got the niggling worries! I know the chair of the panel has had some concerns/prejudices in regards to my age (I'm 23).

What questions were you asked? What did you wear? How long did it take? How long did you have to wait to get the final ok from the decision maker?

Thanks for any replies.

DecAndAnt Fri 30-Nov-12 21:38:04

23 wow good for you, I wish I'd started fostering a lot sooner than I did.

Panel I wanted to look like I'd made an effort but not like I was going to an interview so I wore a skirt with boots, top and pretty cardigan.

The questions were handed to me whilst I was waiting outside so some of them I went through with my sw.

I was quite confident and didn't think I was going to be nervous but when I walked in I was very nervous.
There were approx 8 people who all introduced themselves, the one thing that unnerved me was they were all just looking at me. Sounds odd and of course they were looking at me but to have 8 people hanging on your every word was scary!
It took 30/40 mins I think

They usually tell you there and then, they didn't ok me on the day as there was a reference missing so had to get reference and that was presented the month after!

Re your age, be prepared to be grilled over that if you know they have concerns, ask your sw for advice. I would say its an advantage, you're young and fit, enthusiastic, fun. They will probably say you have no life experience, it seems they like you to have dealt with adversity and stressful situations.
From what I know it is unusual for you to be taken to panel if there isn't a pretty good chance you'll get approved.
Good luck and come back and let us know how you got on.

Tilly28 Fri 30-Nov-12 22:29:56

Me and my partner are going to panel a week on Tuesday! We are both 24 too so expect the same questions as you regarding age. So nervous but also really excited. Will keep my eye on this thread for any other tips :-)

NanaNina Sat 01-Dec-12 14:12:43

Hello - I was a sw and tm mgr of a Fostering & Adoption panel and chaired Fostering panels until it had to be done by an independent person, so then I was the panel advisor (the sort in interface between the chair and the dept.)

I think much depends on the way different LAs run their panels. For the LA I worked for for 25 years, the practice was good. We used to send out letters explaining to applicants that it would be a multi disciplinary panel (someone for Health, Education, Independent person, fostering sw, children's sw and a young person who had been fostered. In addition there may be a student observing panel.

As someone has already said, going into a room with up to a dozen strangers is very daunting and it doesn't matter that they all smile and introduce thenselves, it will still feel very alien. We used to tell applicants in the letter than panel expected them to be nervous. There are no trick questions. Beofre you go in the panel chair should organise who is going to ask you what (IYSWIM) it's not meant to be aQ and A session but inevitable it turns out that way. If you don't understand what someone is asking say so, and take your time, no need to rush, and remember that foster carers are like gold dust to LAs so they want you as much as you want to foster.

We used to ask the applicts to wait for a few minutes and had a quick discussion to ensure all panel members werein agreement and call them back in to say they were approved! Well strictly speaking the LA I worked in could only recommend approval as the final decision had to be ratified by the Agency Decision Maker (A snr mgr) but that was a formality and then a couple of weeks later they got the letter confirming approval.

Mind I know all panels don't work like that I worked independently for a few years after I retired and was interviewed and offered the job on Independent Chair of theFostering Panel for a neighbouring LA (though much more urban) I had worked in a Shire county. They invited me to observe their panel and I was horrified.......the chair just decided everything - she/he is meant to ensure the smooth running of the panel - the panel members could have bee cardboard cut outs and the legal adviser came in late and immediately got out a large submarine roll and began eating it, spilling bits everywhere! Very often applicants didn't come to panel (that's what used to happen in the old days) but I couldn't believe it was still happening. After that I told the LA I didn't want the job thank you. They asked why and I sent a 5 page letter telling them what was wrong with their panel! The snr mngr phoned me and agreed but asked if I could "put things right" and offered me an extra £1 per hour (on top of my fee)...............needless to say I refused. (Oh just remembered the panel went on from 9.30 am to 4.00 without a break for lunch but there were some mince pies (which I hate!) and that was it, so I drove home with a massive headache!

I just hope your LA is a good one. Are you a single applicant and do you have a child or children of your own. If you don't then there may well be some concern that you don't have experience of children, but maybe you have worked with children or something of that sort.

Good luck and try not to worry - they are all ordinary mortals like you and me!! Oh and the other thing is panels are nearly always running late so you may have to wait for a while, which is not good but that's the way it often is.

childatheart Sat 01-Dec-12 14:16:05

The thing to remember is just be youselves and be honest about why you wan't to help and care for children.

As far as life experience goes then look at a lot of social workers on the lac team, some of them are very young, have no experience with children and have no life experiences ! It is about your care and commitment to the child and the reasons for wanting to do it that matters

scarlet5tyger Sat 01-Dec-12 14:24:49

I was quite young when I went to panel too, with no birth children. They asked questions about having children of my own in the future but nothing too unexpected, and it wasn't seen as a negative.

Good luck!

Tilly28 Tue 11-Dec-12 18:32:41

Had panel today and we were approved!! :-) it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. Hope your panel date goes well tomorrow hbr1989!

hbr1989 Tue 11-Dec-12 18:37:23

Congratulstions tilly28. Were you asked anything about your age?

Thanks everyone for your advice. I do have lots of experience with children and have a degree in social work so hopefully age will not be too much of an issue. Goodness knows how I will sleep tonight, I'm very nervous and excited!

Tilly28 Tue 11-Dec-12 18:50:28

Nope, they said it wasn't an issue as like you I had lots of experience (and I'm a teacher) and my partner had some experience. We are just approved as short break carers and for respite at the moment as we both work so can't do full time for the moment! They just asked why we wanted to do it? A couple of questions about our experiences with children? It is abit scary going into the panel room but actually once everyone has been introduced it went really quickly and was over in no time!

hbr1989 Wed 12-Dec-12 15:06:49

I've got approval from panel. Hopefully the decision maker doesn't take too long, been told there may be a delay with it being near xmas. I've also been asked to consider taking a child who is moving from an Ifa placement to la.

Tilly28 Wed 12-Dec-12 17:07:12

That's great news hbr1989, good luck! :-)

bonnieslilsister Wed 12-Dec-12 22:05:21

Well done! Sounds very positive if they have someone in mind already. Good luck smile

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