At Flourish, we aim to make our enquiry and fostering application process to become a Foster Parent with us as streamlined as possible, to give you peace of mind and ensure that you are kept informed and at the centre every step of the way.

The fostering assessment process is something which every potential Foster Parent who has successfully passed the initial selection criteria will need to undergo before they can foster with Flourish; this is a legal requirement.  Although not every application follows exactly the same sequence, the following stages should provide you a good idea of what to expect.

Initial Enquiry

Once an interested applicant has made contact with us, either by telephone or email, we’ll have a chat with you to see whether Flourish Fostering is right for you, and if this is positive, we’ll send out a fostering application pack by email or post, which should be filled in and returned to us.

Making an Application to Foster

Once we’ve received your completed application, which includes giving your consent for us to   conduct statutory checks and obtain references, our fostering team will meet to discuss this initial information.  If your application meets our criteria, it will be selected for the next stage when we will apply for the checks and references.  We will telephone you to discuss your application, and if all is well, proceed to an initial assessment visit.

Initial Fostering Assessment and Visit

One of our specialist Social Workers will visit you at your home to undertake a fostering assessment (however, we may arrange a call over Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or Facetime during COVID-19 lockdown restrictions).  This will help us to identify what individual skills and qualities you’ll bring to the role.  Your assessing Social Worker will ask for some more information from the answers you provided on your application and will also answer any questions you may have.  It’s a good idea to write down any questions or concerns before meeting or talking to your assessing Social Worker, so that you don’t forget anything that you wish to find out more about.  We will explain what becoming a Foster Parent involves, the different types of placement you may consider offering, and the next steps you will take on your journey.

What’s Involved?

Your assessing Social Worker will usually visit you and your family at home a number of times over several weeks to speak to you and collect information about you and your life.

They will talk to you about your childhood and past relationships, work history, health, family and personal interests.  They will also help you to identify your support network and carry out checks, such as a home safety check and pet safety questionnaire; we will also visit family members or friends who you have nominated as referees.  All of this information will be detailed in a document called a ‘Form F’ which is used to help match you and your family to a child needing a safe, secure home.

During this time, you will also attend our mandatory foster training.  These are pre-approval training courses designed to help you find out more about fostering.  They are a great opportunity to speak to people who are already fostering with us and get an insight into what you will be doing and meet other potential Foster Parents.

What References and Checks Will You Carry Out?

As part of the application process, we will carry out a number of references and checks.  These include:

  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), formally known as a CRB, for anyone in the house over the age of 16.
  • Local Authority residency checks for the last 10 years.
  • Ex-partner checks (with your permission).
  • A medical report from your family GP.
  • Written references from at least three personal referees.
  • Educational references for any children in the home.
  • Evidence of UK Citizenship.
  • References from previous employers or fostering agencies.
  • Enquiries to Local Authorities and their Child Protection records (including previous involvement with services for children or vulnerable adults).
  • A full safety check on your home including any pets you may have.

What’s Next?

After completing the Form F, your assessor will help you prepare for the Fostering Panel.  This is a group of fostering professionals who will consider your assessment and make a recommendation regarding your approval as a Foster Parent.  After Panel, Flourish’s Decision Maker will consider the advice and recommendations of the Fostering Panel and if everything is positive, you will be approved to foster with Flourish, and can begin to make a real difference to vulnerable children and young people’s lives.

How Long Does it Take to be Approved?

The process from beginning to end takes, on average, around 4-6 months, but this depends on your time being available to meet with your assessor.  Our foster care team have many years’ experience and will be there to make it as simple and seamless as possible.

What if I’m Not Approved?

At Flourish Fostering we have years of experience of assessing potential foster families.  If you aren’t right for Flourish, or for fostering, we will usually be able to tell you early in the application process.  It is very important that you are open and honest with us when answering our questions; we will be open and honest with you regarding the reasons if we are unable to continue.  Sometimes it is necessary to bring an application process to an end at a later stage, such as during the course of the assessment; it is very rare indeed for an application to be turned down during the latest stages, such as when you are ready for Panel.  It is our aim to minimise wasting your time or causing you unnecessary distress, so we will tell you as early in the process as possible if fostering with Flourish is not right for you.

If you would like to learn more, you can start your journey and find out more about what being a Foster Parent with Flourish Fostering involves.