Application and assessment process
1. Enquiry and information
If you have any questions or need more information about fostering with AfC, call our Recruitment Officer on 020 8547 5355 or go to our contact page.
2. Initial discussion and home visit
If you’ve decided you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, call us on 020 8547 5355. We’ll have an initial discussion over the phone to gather some basic information. Based on this, a member of our team will visit your home to discuss fostering in more detail and to see the space you have available for a foster child.
3. Preparation training
After our initial visit, we will discuss whether this is the right time for you to progress. We’ll then invite you to the preparation training course, Skills to Foster, which is run over three days to give you a good idea of what’s involved in being a foster carer.
Once you’ve completed the preparation course, if you’re interested in applying to become a foster carer with AfC, we’ll ask you to complete an application form.
5. Two-part assessment
The assessment has two main parts: background checks and interviews (these are completed concurrently).
Your assessing social worker will complete background checks within the area where you currently live, in addition to local authority checks on addresses that you lived at in the past. You’ll also need a check-up with your GP (we provide a form for your GP to complete). We ask for three referees who know you well. One who should be a family member. And we’ll meet with at least two of these during the assessment. We’ll also need to witness certain documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, details of household income and details of car and home insurance.
The second part is the interview stage. We’ll schedule around six to eight meetings between you (and your family) and your assessing social worker. These will cover matters such as your family background, your relationship history, your family lifestyle and your parenting experience or experience with children. Your assessing social worker will talk to you about the needs and circumstances of children in care, and you’ll discuss how you can manage these needs.
Not everyone who begins the assessment process will complete it. Sometimes applicants decide to withdraw their application, or sometimes information comes up that puts the assessment on hold for a time. We’ll always be clear with you, at all stages of the assessment, about your progress.
The average length of time to complete the assessment, gather the necessary paperwork, and get to know you well enough, is four to six months. Some assessments can take longer and some may be a little bit shorter.
Your assessing social worker will complete a report, which contains all of your information. You’ll get a chance to read, comment on and sign this report.
You will then be invited to attend a panel, which makes a recommendation on your suitability to foster, before a final decision is made. Once you’ve been approved, you can begin fostering straight away. However, for some applicants, the panel may require further information before approval – or a decision may be made not to give approval at this time. If you’re not approved, your social worker will discuss the reasons with you.