Are you interested in becoming a foster carer? Fostering is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things you can do. Becoming a foster parent will undoubtedly provide a child with a life-changing experience.
Responsibility of a Foster Carer
Becoming a foster carer is a decision no one should take lightly. It takes serious thought and consideration, and everyone involved should consider the implications of becoming a foster parent. It will affect your life and those close to you.
Making sure you fully understand the commitment is imperative. Understanding and accepting you will likely need to make changes to your daily routines, work schedule, and social life should be at the forefront of your mind before becoming a foster parent.
You will need to allow a generous amount of time and have patience as once you decide to become a foster carer, the time it takes to be approved from when you make your initial enquiry can take up to between four to six months.
How Do You Become a Foster Carer?
Becoming a foster parent requires multiple steps. Being a foster carer is a serious responsibility that takes effort and significant consideration.
To become a foster carer, you are required to be:
- at least 21 years old
- a UK resident or have indefinite leave to remain
- able to take care of a child or young person, often on a full-time basis
- provide a safe and suitable living environment.
The type of foster care you sign up for determines the length of time foster children will be with you. It can range from one day to many years; until a child ages out and becomes an adult.
There are steps you will need to take in order to become a foster carer. From your initial inquiry, several home visits and document processes start. The process then ends with your training and promoting you as a foster carer to your local authority.
The steps can vary in duration, but on average, the entire process takes four to six months. After your enquiry, the following will happen:
- An advisor will visit you and discuss fostering with you in detail, discussing what you can expect and getting to know you
- You will start your application after you have made a serious decision to commit to fostering
- An assessor will work with you and your family and will visit your home. This visit will also involve questions on previous relationships and child care experience. There will be multiple visits.
- This information will then be processed in a document
- You will undertake training and statutory checks such as a disclosure and barring service (DBS) check.
It may seem like a lengthy process, but all foster parents must undergo this procedure to make sure they are suitable for vulnerable children.
How Long Will it Take to Receive Foster Children?
As mentioned above, the process from initial enquiry to becoming a certified foster carer takes approximately between four and six months. Therefore, the time between becoming certified and receiving foster children to care for may not be instantaneous.
When you are signed off and fully trained, the fostering service will add you to their available list of foster parents, and local authorities will be informed of your availability.
If you have chosen to be a long term foster carer, you will be sent foster children’s profiles to assess who you think will be a good fit for your family. In some cases, you will be able to meet the children before they come to live in your home. Unfortunately, short-term foster parents rarely have time to choose. They are the first line of support for children who have face removal from an unsuitable environment and are often emergency placements.
Becoming a foster parent is an incredibly generous and rewarding choice. There are many children in need of safe and loving homes, and although it can be a lengthy process to become a foster carer, you will not regret the decision. Reach out to Apple Fostering if you are considering becoming a foster carer, and with their experience and expert advice, they can help you with any queries.