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We believe that becoming a foster carer is an amazing and rewarding experience. We also understand it is a big decision for you and your family. That’s why we provide information and resources that cover everything you need to know before making that first step and at a pace that’s right for you.
Whether you are at the early stages of your journey or if you have been considering becoming a foster carer for some time, our team is on hand to help.
Already a foster carer? Learn more about how you can transfer to us.
Deciding if fostering is right for you
The first step is to simply book a call back with one of our team so they can answer any of your questions and share more about what it's like to foster with Fostering Rotherham.
Our team will work closely with you to create a personalised pathway to foster that will work for you and your family, so you feel fully informed and ready to embark on your fostering journey.
As part of this pathway process, we will arrange a series of calls and face to face visits that work around you and your commitments. At each session, we will provide tailored information and resources and go into depth about different topics related to life as a foster carer. This can be done as quickly as you like - we also offer a fast track process for anyone eager to start their training quickly!
Along the way, our team will ask you a few questions to check if there are any reasons why you may not be able to foster at this time, such as not having a spare room in your home, your work commitments and any health issues.
Once you are ready to apply, our expert fostering team is on hand to support you every step of the way.
Read more below or book a call with our team to find out more about the application process.
The application process
Our application process is broken up into three stages: application, assessment, support and approval. The length of the application process can vary from carer to carer and is designed to ensure the best possible outcome for you, your family and the children we support.
On average, this process can take as little as 12 weeks but for some people may take longer depending on your personal circumstances. We aim to ensure all assessments are completed in a maximum of 16 weeks.
Throughout the whole process, you will be offered support and advice and there will be lots of opportunities to ask questions at every stage.
However you choose to get in touch with us, via our website, email, telephone, social media or at an event, you will be in contact with our friendly fostering team who can discuss any initial questions you might have.
Our fostering team will work with you during this pre-application stage to design a pathway to foster and action plan. We will provide all the information, support and guidance you need before we need to invite you to formally apply to be a foster carer with Fostering Rotherham.
You will work closely with a dedicated member of the fostering team during this period; they will contact you regularly as you digest the information and help support you to make any important decisions.
Our team will also agree a schedule with you to set up appointments to discuss fostering with other members of your family to make sure that they understand what fostering is and to answer any questions they have.
We will also arrange a visit to do a regulatory assessment of your home and the spare room you intend to provide for any looked after children. Each session will offer the opportunity to ask our fostering team as many questions as you like and use their valuable experience to prepare yourself and your family for the amazing journey you are starting together. Read our current COVID-19 Safety Policy for supporting face to face visits and appointments.
“Many children and young people are needing a loving secure stable home. No matter what is going on in the world our children still need this more than ever.”
Samantha, Foster Carer
Application and assessment
When you feel ready to formally apply and we have discussed all the essential requirements to become a foster carer, you will be invited to complete a fostering application form.
You will need to provide work, family and personal references as part of this stage of the application and we will use your application form to carry out medical and statutory checks with local authority and safeguarding, including a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
If you have any issues or questions completing the application form, our support teams will be on hand to guide you and provide assistance.
You will be assigned your own personal social worker, who will meet you, your family and your extended support network regularly to get to know you better. They will also help you complete any necessary paperwork required during the assessment stage.
You will also be invited to attend one of our Skills to Foster training courses. This is led by our Fostering Team and existing local foster carers, who are there to share their experiences with you openly and honestly. This part of the application process is often what our current foster families have found the most useful, as it really helps you to understand what being a foster carer will be like.
Skills to Foster is just the first step of your training as a foster carer. Fostering Rotherham offer a huge amount of training and support to our foster carers to support them through their fostering journey. During this stage of the application process, you may want to discuss these benefits with your Social Worker.
Towards the end of the assessment period, your personal Social Worker will work with you to complete a Fostering Assessment report. You will have full visibility of the report and can add your own feedback and comments. You will then be invited to attend a Fostering Panel where your personal Social Worker’s assessment and recommendations are discussed. This usually takes no longer than 30 minutes and you may be asked a few questions. While this may seem a little daunting - don't worry! Your Social Worker will be with you every step of the way and will help you prepare for the process.
You will be told at the Fostering Panel whether or not your application has been recommended for approval and passed to the Agency Decision Maker (ADM) to make a final decision. Once you’re approved as a foster carer, you will receive a welcome pack and be allocated a supervising Social Worker. You will then begin your induction into our amazing network of Rotherham foster carers.
As a newly approved foster carer, your support doesn’t stop there. Read more about the support we provide in these first few months and beyond.
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