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Becoming a foster carer - what's involved?

(8 Posts)
mogs0 Thu 07-Jul-11 19:44:24

I've thought about becoming a foster carer for quite a few years and even got to the point of having a meeting with a SW from one of the IFA to discuss offering respite care.

The main things that have stopped me is that I live in a 2 bed property and the impact it may have on my ds.

I am interested in adopting babies and whilst I appreciate it'd be very difficult when the time comes for the FC to leave I worry about how my ds would cope with this.

I have looked after children for 15 years as a nanny/childminder.

I've read through a few threads in this section and am feeling like I'd like to explore this some more and that it might actually work out.

I was wondering what the process is to becoming a foster carer?

Also, I've just read that children under 2 share a bedroom with their foster carer. What happens if the child stays until they are over 2 but there isn't another bedroom for them to have their own?

I have about a million more questions but will be back later...

SquidgyBrain Fri 08-Jul-11 08:34:03

Hiya

Every LA/IFA is different. So this is the procedure that I went through to gain approval with my LA.

Firstly contact the LA, they then send out a basic for which is an enquiry to foster. Once they have received that and they decide you meet their basic criteria, you then have an initial home visit. 2 social workers came to meet us and our children.

They then invite you to the preparation to foster courses - we were really lucky and we did a residential weekend which covered everything that is normally done in several evenings.

You are being assessed during this. After the prep course, you will then either be told they do not think you are suitable, or will invite you to apply to foster.

Once they have your application Link workers are allocated, and the the assessment starts. For us it was almost weekly visits - certainly at least 3 visits every month, they will follow up references, they did interviews with some of our referees in their homes, they spoke to others on the phone.

During the assessment you will have a medical, and your home will be inspected and a safety assessment will be done.

Once they have completed their assessment you will be told they are either recommending you to the panel or not. If they are not recommending you, you can still go to panel, but it is unusual to be accepted by the panel if the social worker doesn't recommend you

You then go to panel, where 10 people who have read your report will ask you about things in the report that they feel need clarifying and or ask how you would deal with various circumstances.

It all sound much more daunting than it is. We actually really enjoyed the assessment process, and I found an awful lot about myself. Our link workers were both lovely, and it really was a pleasure to deal with them

We are approved for one child 0-2 and only have a cot in our bedroom, we our first placement was a 10 month old little boy, and to be honest by the time he left at 18 months I really felt that him being in our room in a cot was not really working. I spoke to my link worker about this and we are going to try have a placement at the younger end of the scale and see how that works.

We had thought what we would do if we had a child longer than him/her were able to sleep in the cot was they would share a bedroom with our DD, and due to the age of the children our LA were ok with this.

You spoke about wanting to adopt babies, I know in the past that fostering was an avenue to be able to adopt, but in our LA we have been told flat out that we will not be accepted to adopt any of the babies.

Hoping that is of some help I am sure some other carers will pop along and be of more help smile

mogs0 Fri 08-Jul-11 10:09:33

Thanks for your reply! Lots of useful information.

Just re-read my OP and see I've put adopt babies - I meant foster babies.

The process does sound quite daunting and, if I do go ahead, would be doing it as a single carer which makes me feel even more nervous although, from reading other threads on here, I can see there are many single carers.

I'm going to give LA a call and at least get some more information from them.

When I met with the social worker before, I was very overwhelmed by the amount of information she wanted from me at that early stage. I think she was here for nearly 2 hours and wrote down absolutely everything I said!!

How many referees did you have? I am relatively new to the area so a lot of my childcare referees are some distance away.

Thanks again for replying...I'll have thought of a few more questions by this afternoon, so I will be back!

SquidgyBrain Fri 08-Jul-11 10:47:34

Yes even at the early stages they do take lots and lots of information, the assessment process is so time consuming on their part that they need to be fairly sure that you are the right type of candidate before they will proceed.

Yeah there are lots of single carers out there it doesn't seem to be an obstacle.

I think we had to give 4 referees. They want personal ones, especially friends that know your parenting style. The referee form is actually quite long! We also had a reference from our children's school.

It doesn't matter how far away your referees are - or how long it is since you worked their. I was a nanny over 15 years ago and they contacted the family.

It isn't an easy process but it is so worth it when you get to the end smile

there are some lovely ladies on here I am sure you will get great answers to any questions you have

anji9012 Fri 08-Jul-11 11:05:58

Hi
we were told, that you had to have a spare room, no matter the age of the LO. but under 11 months could stay in your room IF needed. They were NOT to share with Your siblings. So each LA is different. You can only enquire and see what they say. Good Luck

maypole1 Fri 08-Jul-11 12:17:47

It most cases babys who are with baby carers will just need a gone but two years is plenty of time for them to plan for a long term move

Our we have lots of baby carers who have no spare rooms and the children share with them.

If fact the child we now have came from a baby carer when fc was 2 and 2 weeks

My son loves being a part of a foster family some say do it when their older but my view is do it while their young and like my son they never know any different he's never really had me to himself for any length of time so likes the family has were as if I had waited till he was a teen he may of resisted fostering

mumsiepie Sat 09-Jul-11 14:06:53

Hi Mogs, I am a single carer and started off using my room for babies but now we have been using the dining room as a bedroom for about a year and are moving to a bigger house soon. I would encourage anyone to persue their interest. I have had really positive experiences and my children aged 14 and 11 now, absolutely love it, although they do cry when a child leaves.....but then that's fine to do that.....someone else usually comes quite quickly to take their mind off the last child!! xx

mogs0 Sun 10-Jul-11 14:17:51

Thanks for all the replies!

I have requested more information from my LA so will see what they send me and what the situation is wrt sharing a bedroom - I have a room which you walk through to get to the front bedroom. It's used to store general junk and the computer so it could potentially be used for sleeping either by me, ds or a fc. The main problems with it are 1) you have to walk through it to get to the front bedroom and 2) it has no window.

Anyway, I'll wait and see what information I get from LA and what the next step is.

Thanks again and I'm sure I'll be back soon with my next round of questions!!

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