As we’re sure you’ll understand, there are a number of checks that need to be carried out before we can place a child in your care, as well as training to be had on your part to better prepare you for becoming a foster family.
We do, of course, aim to get these undertaken in the most efficient and effective manner possible. The whole process should take no longer than six months from when we receive your application.
Once you have received your information pack we will contact you to arrange an initial home visit.
One of our friendly advisors from our recruitment team will arrange to meet you to discuss in more detail the process, and to find out basic information about you, your family and your home.
In Slough, we value our foster families’ involvement and believe it is important for potential foster families to have the chance to talk to our existing families.
Throughout the recruitment and assessment process we aim to give you opportunities to meet other foster families who can offer you support and enable you to learn about their experience of fostering with Slough Children First.
The social worker who completes your initial home visit report will keep in contact with you during the initial stages to ensure you are fully supported and that any questions you may have are answered.
If you decide that becoming a foster family is right for you then you will need to complete an application form. Fostering involves the whole family, so if you have a partner they will need to be part of the application process too.
Skills to Foster training
You will be invited to attend a preparation course called Skills To Foster. This course offers you an opportunity to find out more about fostering.
You will learn about why children need to be looked after, how to help children manage their feelings and behaviours, the roles of Slough Children First staff in helping you and the child while placed with you as well as the support to you as a foster family.
If you have any children they will be invited to attend a children’s preparation group to talk about what fostering is about and what it might mean for them.
We also have regular events for the children within foster families, so they get the opportunity to meet other children of foster families.
The safety and security of our children is Slough Children First’s top priority and, by law, we have to undertake rigorous checks on all people in the household. Early on in the process we will carry out Disclosure and Barring Service checks (DBS) and Local Authority checks.
Child health and education checks will be carried out on any children in the household and we will also ask you to provide employment, medical and personal references.
All these checks may seem daunting, but we will guide you every step of the way to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.
You will be assigned a social worker who will begin the assessment with you and other members of your household. The assessment involves a number of home visits and is designed to help acknowledge your strengths and look at any areas where we might need to offer extra support to help you undertake the fostering task.
This part of the process usually takes around four months and there are good reasons why everything needs to be explored in depth with you as we need to get it right for the children that you will care for and for your own family.
Once all the information has been gathered from the home visits and the checks, a report is written by the social worker. This is shared with you to make sure it is accurate and then it is presented to the Fostering Panel, which recommends approvals and reviews at Slough Children First.
You are, of course, invited to attend the Fostering Panel meeting. Based on the recommendation from the Fostering Panel, the Agency Decision Maker will then give the formal approval of suitability to foster.
Once approved you would be registered as a foster carer with Slough Children First and can look forward to the placement of your first child(ren).
Foster care standards
We will support you within your first year of fostering and this support will continue even as you become more confident in your role.
We will help you to meet the ‘Training and Development Standards (TDS) which all foster carers in the country must work towards.
You will be allocated a supervising social worker (SSW) who will meet with you and your family regularly (at least monthly) and provide advice, guidance and ongoing support.