We understand that the decision to become a foster carer is a very important one. Our team will be with you every step of the way, from your application to a child moving into your home and beyond. Below we have detailed the journey you will go on to become a foster carer to give you an idea of the process.
When we receive your initial enquiry, a worker within our team will be in touch to arrange the best time to call you, and this begins your link to our team.
Our team member will go through a list of questions with you. For example, finding out why you wish to foster, what type of fostering you think you would like to do, who makes up your household, and explain more about our service. It will also allow you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. If you wish to proceed and we feel that it is the right time for your family to start the process of fostering, we will arrange a time for a team member to call via Teams or arrange to visit you at home.
This home visit is a chance for you and an Aberlour team member to meet directly and to allow you the opportunity to ask any questions about fostering and the assessment process. It also gives us the chance to further explore how fostering would fit into your lifestyle, an opportunity to see the living space available to the child/ren and assess if we both feel that this is the right time for fostering for your family.
You will be invited to attend a training course called ‘Skills to Foster.’ This is a mandatory part of the application to foster process. If you are part of a couple, both partners must attend all sessions. These sessions are used as a part of the assessment process.During these training sessions, you will meet other potential foster carers going through the same process. Aberlour team members will take you through a training programme looking at areas such as “what is fostering?”, “child protection”, “safe-guarding” and “becoming a family who fosters.” Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions about the training at any point.
Aberlour Fostering will let you know who your assessing worker will be. It will be a qualified Social Worker who will organise regular sessions to gather information about you and your family to help inform the assessment. Our Family Worker will also support any children in your household to prepare them for this process. Although it is the assessing worker’s responsibility to gather the information, we need you to engage in this process and complete administration tasks required for the assessment. We also complete mandatory checks and ask for professional and personal references as part of the process. This process will take four to six months. We aim to make it as close to four months as possible.
The Social Worker’s assessment and recommendation are presented to Aberlour’s Foster Panel alongside checks for their consideration. The Fostering Panel is made up of a chairperson and two or three other panel members. The panel review the assessment and ask any questions they may have to the Social Worker and you. It is the panel’s decision whether to agree to the recommendation of the Social Worker on the day.
Our Agency Decision Maker makes the final decision on your application. The Agency Decision Maker will review all the information, including minutes from the panel and recommendations, and then approve if you are able to become a foster carer. We will send a confirmation in writing of the Agency Decision Maker’s decision. Whatever the decision, we will discuss the next steps with you. If more information is required, we will aim to do this as quickly as possible.
If you have been successfully approved as a foster carer, it is time to move on to the matching process. Your assessing Social Worker will complete a pen picture, which is an overview of you and your family that is provided to different local authorities looking for a match for a child. You will also receive information regarding children that will allow you and us to make an informed decision on whether this could be a match for you and your family. If you and we feel that there could be a match, then you will be invited to attend a meeting with the child’s Social Worker supported by your Aberlour Social Worker and this allows you to hear more about the child and the team around them.
After being involved in many discussions with the team supporting the child and arranging the best move in plan for the child and your family, your new family member will move into your home. As part of the move in process, Aberlour Fostering will provide a generous allowance to allow you to prepare for your foster child to move in, this allowance could be used to decorate and prepare the child’s bedroom for their arrival.