Your fostering journey
The process from your first enquiry up to approval will normally take around 6 – 8 months. TACT understand what a huge decision it is to become a foster carer for you and your family, so we will be there to support you throughout whenever you may have any questions or concerns.
Each stage of the journey is described in more detail in the drop-downs below.
We know that making the first contact to say you are considering fostering can be a really big step, but there’s nothing to worry about.
The initial enquiry is an opportunity for you to find out more about fostering and the application process, to help decide if it is something that you want to pursue.
At this stage you are not making any commitment, you will simply have an informal chat with our friendly enquiries team, ask any questions that you have and answer a few basic questions about yourself and your motivation to become a foster carer.
To begin your initial enquiry, you can either call 0330 123 2250 or request for us to call you back at a time that suits you. If you’re not yet ready to speak to someone about fostering, you can always request an information pack or look at our frequently asked questions.
The video below shows TACT staff and foster carers discussing what the initial enquiry involves:
The next step is for one of our supervising social workers to visit you at your home. The visit will involve a more detailed discussion about your circumstances, your family, any experience that is relevant to fostering and your motivations to become a foster carer.
The home visit is a finding out session for everyone, the social worker will ask you about your understanding of fostering and the needs of looked after children and you will have the opportunity to ask further questions that you may have about the process and the effect that fostering might have on your lives.
If you are married or live with a partner, you both need to be equally committed to fostering. Your partner will need to be present at the home visit as they are classed as a secondary carer and will need to be involved the assessment process from this point onwards.
TACT Carers describe their experiences of the initial home visit in the video below:
As a TACT foster carer you will have access to an extensive training package, starting with the Skills to Foster course. This three day introductory training course is designed to give you an insight into life as a foster carer. It is delivered at locations across the country throughout the year.
The course will give you more detail about your role as a foster carer, the expectations of you and your family and some of the other people that you will be required to work with, such as the child’s family, their social worker and other professionals.
The course will be insightful and sometimes emotional as you explore some of the reasons that children come into care, the experiences that they may have had and your role in helping to manage their behaviour and development.
You will also meet some of TACT’s existing Foster Carers, who will share their experience of the application process, getting their first placement and the support that they receive from TACT as well as answering your questions.
Watch the video below to see some of our carers talking about their experiences of Skills to Foster:
Application & Assessment
Now you are ready to start the formal process of applying to become a foster carer. After completing your application form you will be allocated a Supervising Social Worker who will work with you to complete a detailed assessment of your suitability to become a foster carer – this is called a Form F assessment.
The assessment involves a number of checks including medical, financial, DBS (in England and Wales) or PVG (in Scotland) and references (both employer and personal). And because fostering involves the whole family, checks will also be carried out on other members of the household. As part of the assessment process, we will also need to make contact with other significant adults in your life, this will include ex-partners and adult children – your Social Worker will explain in more detail what the checks entails and who needs to be involved.
Alongside the checks you will have regular meetings with your Social Worker where you will have detailed discussions on a range of subjects relevant to your suitability to become a foster carer.
Watch the video below to see TACT carers discussing their experiences of the assessment process:
The final stage of the application process is the panel review. Our fostering panel consists of a group of experienced, independent care professionals who will review your assessment and make a recommendation to the agency decision maker in TACT about your suitability as a foster carer. All of the information gathered during your assessment will be compiled into a single report which will be presented to the fostering panel.
Carers often tell us that they get anxious at this stage, but there is really no need to worry. You will meet with your social worker on a regular basis throughout your assessment and they will raise any concerns that they have well in advance of you going to panel.
Your First Placement
Your journey doesn’t end with approval – it’s just the start! As soon as you are approved we will begin the process of matching you to your first placement and will continue to support you through every step of your fostering career.