Your fostering journey
The Swiis fostering journey, from application to placement and beyond, is a robust process all applicants must go through in order to become a fully accredited foster carer:
Once we have received your enquiry, whether this is by telephone, email, via the contact us page or word of mouth, one of the fostering team will have an initial telephone conversation with you about becoming a foster carer and will explain the criteria for being able to apply. If you meet the initial selection criteria, you will be sent an information pack for you to review, which includes a request for an initial visit. If you wish to find out a little more about fostering and whether you (and your family) are suitable, you will need to sign the ‘Initial Visit Request Form’ and send this back.
Once Swiis have received the ‘Initial Visit Request Form’ , a qualified social worker will visit you and your family at home, to see where you live and talk to you and your family about your reasons for fostering.
Following the ‘initial visit’ a report with recommendations from the social worker will be sent to Swiis. If you (and your family) pass this first stage and you yourself wish to proceed, you will be asked to complete and submit an application form.
If your application is accepted you will move on to the next step in the process.
Swiis will assign you a named, qualified social worker to carry out an assessment with you and your family (Form F assessment).
During the Form F assessment, the qualified social worker will make between 5 to 8 visits to your home in order to spend time working with you and your family on your Form F and family portfolio. This assessment is a joint project and requires full participation from you and your family and will be a means of documenting your suitability to become a foster carer.
You will need to provide references for people who can be contacted by the social worker to discuss your and your family’s suitability to become foster carers.
The social worker will produce a report (Form F) which includes details such as:
- Your background
- Relationships/partnerships (current and previous)
- Children in the household
- Other adult members of the household
- Description of family life
- Support network
- Overview of financial stability
- Parenting capacity
As part of your assessment, we will carry out a series of statutory checks, including:
- Enhanced DBS Check
- Local Authority checks
- NSPCC checks
- Ex-partners (except in exceptional circumstances)
- Children from previous relationships
- Reference from current employer/fostering organisation/voluntary work
- School/Health visitor reports for your own children (if appropriate)
- Medical reports
- At least 2 personal references
- References from all previous employment involving children and vulnerable people
- General risk assessment of your home
- Recommendations for improving safety
- Overseas checks (if appropriate)
Either immediately prior to commencing or during your assessment you will be required to attend a 3-day “Preparation Training” course. This is part of the assessment process and feedback from trainers will be reviewed as part of your assessment. You may wish to attend the first day of training before you sign the application form to proceed, this will provide you with further clarification about what you can expect as a foster carer, both the rewards and the challenges which you may face.
Once your Form F has been completed, you will have the opportunity to read and discuss possible amendments to the report. Your Form F assessment and outcome of all the statutory and non-statutory checks will then be presented to the Fostering Panel by the qualified social worker who undertook your Form F assessment. All main carers and secondary carers are required to attend. The Fostering Panel comprises a combination of professionals and independent members, including a foster carer, educationalist and a person with experience of the looked after children system. You will be asked to respond to a number of relevant questions at this meeting. The fostering panel will take deliberation and advise you on the day of their recommendations.
The Fostering Panel will make their recommendations to Swiis and the final decision rests with the Agency Decision Maker who is a director of Swiis Foster Care. The Agency Decision Maker will review all documentation, including the minutes of the panel meeting and its recommendations and will make the final decisions on the basis of the recommendation. Once official approval has been given, Swiis will notify you by telephone and in writing, and assign a social worker to you who will visit you at home (to provide an induction training) and begin sourcing suitable placements for you immediately. All relevant Local Authorities will be made aware of your availability as a foster carer.