What is Fostering

Foster carers provide loving homes for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents. It may be for a short period of time until a child can return to the care of their parents, or is able to move to another member of their extended family until they are 18. Children and young people come into the care of the local authority for many reasons. They arrive from a diverse range of backgrounds, and each will have their own individual needs. What they all have in common is the need to be cared for, in a safe and secure family environment.

Interested in becoming a foster carer?

Who can Foster?

Foster carers come from all walks of life, a wide range of cultures, backgrounds and ethnic groups. They are a diverse group of people representative of the society that we live in.

At Apple Fostering, we don’t look at your ethnic origin, marital status, age or sexuality, nor whether you own your own home. All that matters is that you have caring characteristics and attributes, and of course, the determination to make a difference in a child or young person’s life.

On a practical level, you must:

  • Be over 21 and have a spare bedroom.

  • Be a full-time resident of the UK or have leave to remain in the UK.

  • Whilst you do not need to be a homeowner, you do need to have a stable and secure tenancy.

  • You must have good spoken and written English.

  • It would help if you had the time and availability to dedicate yourself to fostering as well as your other commitments to your family and/or work.

Fostering Assessments

There are several steps to go through before being formally approved as a foster carer. During the assessment process, you will have an allocated social worker who will answer any questions you may have, and will be there to support you every step of the way.

Initial Enquiry

If you are interested in finding out more about fostering, you can contact us by phone on 0345 057 3845, or complete our online enquiry form.

One of our social workers will phone you back for an informal chat, but don’t worry – you will be under no obligation to take things any further. The sole purpose of the conversation is to answer any questions you may have about fostering and the assessment process, and it allows us to take a few details about yourself and your family.

Home Visit

If you decide that you would like to pursue your interest in fostering, the next step would be for you to be visited at home by one of our social workers.

This would involve a more detailed exploration of your understanding of fostering, your motivation, family circumstances, and any experiences you may have had that are relevant. If you have a partner, they would also be expected to be present and part of any conversation.

The home visit is another opportunity for you to ask questions and explore what fostering would mean for your family. Following this, we will let you know whether we can accept an application from you.

The Assessment

Once you complete your application, your allocated supervising social worker will begin a detailed assessment of your suitability to become a foster carer.

This will involve talking to you and your partner (if you have one), and any others living in your household, including your children. The conversation would revolve around your history and life experiences.

This is called a Form F assessment. As part of it, we also have to carry out several checks, including health and police checks, and take up personal and professional references. We will also need to speak to any former partners and adult children. As fostering involves the whole household, police checks will need to be carried out on all adult members of the family.

Having a criminal conviction will not automatically rule someone out from fostering. It depends on the nature and circumstance of the offence. Your supervising social worker will be able to advise you about this.

All carers are expected to complete initial training as part of the assessment process. This will give you an insight into what it means to be a foster carer, your role and your expectations. The training will also include the opportunity to meet with our existing foster carers to learn from their experience.

The assessment process will usually take several weeks. It will involve several meetings with your social worker, where you will have the opportunity to discuss many topics relating to fostering.

Approval (The Fostering Panel)

Once the assessment is complete, your social worker will prepare a report (the Form F) to be presented to the fostering panel. This refers to an independent group of people with childcare experience whose job is to recommend the agency decision-maker about the applicants’ suitability to foster.

You will be able to read and comment on the report before it is presented to the panel, and you will be invited to attend the panel meeting along with your social worker, who will make sure that you know what to expect on the day.

Once approved, you will be ready for your first placement, and you will have help and support from Apple every step of the way.

Would you like to foster with a small agency?

Are you an experienced foster carer considering transferring from their existing agency or local authority? Would you like to foster with a small agency where you will receive the support you need and deserve?

We would like to hear from you and provide you with more information about the benefits of fostering with Apple. One of our experienced social workers will talk you through the process, and answer any questions you may have.

Get in touch