Initial Enquiry

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 telephone call 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.


Initial Enquiry Timescales

Our enquiry team are available five days a week, including some evenings, meaning we can complete the initial enquiry with you whenever is convenient for you. The call will usually take between 15 and 30 minutes.


The video below shows TACT staff and foster carers discussing what the initial enquiry involves:


Home Visit

The next step is for a virtual meeting with a member of our foster carer recruitment team, usually using Microsoft teams or WhatsApp. This meeting may be with the same person that you spoke to during your enquiry call, or another member of the team and will involve showing them around your home to ensure that it is suitable for fostering.

The virtual home visit meeting is a finding out session for everyone, it will include a more detailed discussion about your circumstances, your family, any experience that is relevant to fostering and your motivations to become a foster carer, as well as talking about your understanding of fostering and the needs of looked after children. It is also an opportunity for you 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 they will need to be present at the virtual visit as they are classed as a secondary carer. It is important that you are both equally committed to fostering as you will both need to be involved in the assessment process from this point onwards.


Home Visit Timescales

A virtual home visit can take place as soon as you feel ready and at a time to suit you (and your partner if you are in a relationship). The virtual visit usually takes around two hours.


TACT Carers describe their experiences of the initial home visit in the video below:


Introductory Training

As a TACT foster carer you will have access to an extensive training package, starting with the Skills to Foster course. This three day virtual training course is designed to give you an introduction and insight into life as a foster carer.

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.


Introductory Training Timescales

The Skills to Foster is delivered virtually over three days. We have courses taking place every week meaning you have the flexibility to choose dates that are suitable for you.

At this stage you will be allocated a social worker who will discuss dates with you and talk to you more about what to expect at Skills to foster. This person will be on hand to support and guide you through the rest of the assessment process.


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 an Assessor 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.


Application & Assessment Timescales

The Form F assessment takes between four and six months to complete, your allocated social worker and assessor will keep you informed of the progress of your assessment and the intended date for you to attend panel.


Watch the video below to see TACT carers discussing their experiences of the assessment process:


Approval

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.