Five steps to fostering with Action for Children

Wednesday 20 July 2022
Siblings playing chess

Find out how the fostering assessment works with Action for Children in five easy to remember steps

Becoming a foster carer may feel like you’re taking a huge leap into the unknown, but there are so many steps in between — we promise. We’ve broken down the fostering process into five easy-to-read steps, so you know what to expect.

Read on and watch our professional team to learn about fostering with Action for Children.

1. Read about us

Download our information pack to learn how Action for Children fostering works. We’ll put you in touch with our enquiry team so if you have a question, you have someone to turn to.

To foster you must:

- Have a spare bedroom

- Be 21 or older

- Be a permanent resident in the UK

- Show a genuine passion to want to care for a vulnerable child

Once you’ve spoken to one of our friendly support officers, we’ll put you in touch with your local fostering team.

2. Meet us

An Action for Children social worker, like Lindzi, will come out and meet with you in your home or online. This visit isn't a test. It’s about chatting over your individual circumstances to explore if the time is right for you.

A social worker will:

- Take a look around your home

- Ask about your work and personal experience

- Understand your motivation to want to foster

- Explain what happens during a fostering assessment

3. Applying to foster

After a social worker meets with you virtually, they’ll provide an 'initial visit' report to the local managers. Together, they’ll decide if you're ready to apply with Action for Children to foster.

They’ll consider:

- If you can balance fostering with any other commitments you have.

- If your home has enough space for a child to have their own privacy.

- How friends and family will support you through the ups and downs of fostering.

Your local team will explore any existing health conditions, too. If you do have a serious health condition, it doesn’t exclude you. Your GP and social worker will explore if fostering causes any risks to your health.

If you don't get invited to apply after you've met with a social worker, you'll receive a reason. Often, it means waiting a short while until circumstances improve. Sometimes your spare room or home may not be suitable, but there may be a chance to make changes and enquire again

The assessment involves paperwork such as references, health checks and background checks. Our friendly support team help you to navigate this part of the assessment. A social worker visits you to work through your assessment, too. These sessions are thorough and regular, taking around four to six months to complete.

You’ll also complete a three-day training course called, The Skills to Foster

We have lots of information about the fostering process on our website.

4. Receiving your fostering registration

At the end of the fostering assessment, you’ll need to attend a panel. Your assessing social worker will come with you and provide support. Panels usually take place online and you’ll have plenty of time to prepare for it. Everyone gets nervous, but the feedback from carers is positive. It can be both an enjoyable and exciting experience.

There isn’t a mould to become the perfect foster carer.

Jade, young person's practitioner

As an Action for Children foster carer you'll get access to online and face-to-face training. We also offer individual development plans to carers, which supports the individual needs of the children your caring for.

Some of the training we offer includes:

  • Monthly therapeutic training programs with a clinical psychologist
  • Safeguarding, first aid and safer care training
  • How to perform administrative tasks such as submitting recordings
  • Monthly support groups with other foster carers
  • Online safety
  • And so much more!

5. Matching you with a child

Matching is a fostering term used to describe how we find the right family for a young person. It's an important and final step before you meet your foster child.

There’s a support team communicating with local authorities in the background. They'll learn about the children waiting for fostering families and what they need. Like being local to their school or birth family, or what type of fostering they need.

Your assessment tells professionals what your skills and strengths are. It helps them understand which children you're best able to support.

There for you every step of the way

Remember, when you foster with Action for Children, you are not alone. Your local team provide 24/7 professional support, and our network of foster carers are there for you, too.

Join our fostering community and help children in your area experience a safe and happy home.