Becoming a foster carer is a huge and important decision. It is a step that will change your life and one that can be both exciting and nerve racking, but most of all, personally fulfilling. Choosing an agency to begin your fostering career with, is a decision that needs careful thought and sound reasoning. We are happy to help you with this, talking with and supporting you, every step of the way. We would like to ensure that becoming a foster carer with Soundly Fostering, is smooth and enlightening. Joy and Kat will communicate with you personally. We pride ourselves on being a small, family-focused fostering agency and know that we can offer the support, training and insight you will need for us to achieve together. As a team, we will work with you to create an environment of honesty and respect.
We will help you throughout the process, guiding you through the stages, to ensure you feel supported, right from the beginning, and equipped to become part of the team.
Download an information pack:
There are some initial questions that you will need to think about …
1. Do you have a spare bedroom?
2. Are you over 21?
3. Are you fit and healthy?
4. Do you want to change a child’s life?
5. Do you enjoy a challenge?
6. Do you want to learn about fostering and yourself?
7. Can you work as part of a team?
If you have answered ‘Yes’ to all the above, then get in touch. If you are not sure if you meet the criteria or have any questions , then give us a call anyway and we can discuss further…
We are happy to speak to anyone who is interested in fostering and feel that they may have what it takes to be a foster carer. We recognise that everyone is different and has different qualities, just like the children we care for, so we need foster carers from all sorts of backgrounds and with different experiences, who can care for children. Therefore, we welcome the opportunity to discuss your particular circumstances with you, to help you consider how we might progress your fostering career.
After your initial enquiry, if we are both ready to move to the next stage and you meet our initial criteria and think that we are an agency you would like to work with, we will arrange a home visit at a convenient time. The home visit is our opportunity to meet you and any other members of your household. We will want to know a bit more about you and your family, your lifestyle and check your home is suitable for fostering. This is a good opportunity for you to get to know us a bit better too. We will answer any questions that you may have and provide you with more information about fostering with Soundly, so you are able to make an informed and sound decision.
Following the home visit, we hope that you will be motivated to foster with us so we can progress to the next stage. If this is the case, we will ask you to complete an application form - we can do this with you, if that is helpful. Once we have your completed form, you will
be invited to attend our foster carer preparation training and allocate a qualified and experienced social worker, who will begin your fostering assessment. Sometimes, if you are still a bit unsure, we might wait until you have completed the preparation training course before we allocate an assessor, this will allow you to have any further questions answered, ensuring that fostering is right for you and your family at this time. You are not committed to anything and can withdraw your application at any time throughout the process.
You (and your partner if applicable), will be invited to attend our foster carer preparation course. This will give you a good insight into the day-to-day realities of fostering, the implications of fostering on foster carers, their friends and families. Also, you will gain an understanding of the legal framework foster carers work within. This course will help you to make an informed decision on whether fostering is right for you and your family at this stage of your lives. It also gives us a clearer picture of your suitability to become a foster carer. Feedback from the course facilitator will be included in your assessment.
The fostering assessment is completed by a skilled and experienced social worker, who will help you reflect on your skills, experience and knowledge, consider your transferable skills, which will support the fostering task. The assessment will involve several meetings with your social worker, in person and virtually. You will be expected to participate fully in these sessions. You will also need to attend some training, which the agency will provide. All members of the household need to be involved in the application and assessment process.
The assessment process also includes the completion of several statutory checks to assist us in assessing your suitability to foster. You will need to consent before we can begin these and they include;
• Heath assessment (medical) completed by your GP
• Local authority check
• DBS checks (enhanced checks are carried out and full declaration of convictions is necessary)
• Checks with your children’s schools (for children under 18)
• Employer reference
• Ex–partner reference (if applicable)
• Pet questionnaire
• Health & Safety check on your home
• Landlord agreement to use their property for fostering (if you rent your home)
• Eligibility to live and work in the UK
Fostering assessments usually take up to 4 months to complete, although this is often dependent on your availability, so we can go more slowly and, in some cases, more quickly, depending on your circumstances. We will work at your pace, something which will be discussed early in the assessment process.
Once completed, the assessment will be presented to the Soundly Fostering Panel, which you will be invited to attend. This panel is made up of independent members, with various backgrounds in fostering, health, education and social work. They will consider your application, the details of the assessment and make a recommendation in relation to your approval.