Our Fostering Journey

We know that if you are considering fostering it’s a big decision and you will have many questions. Questions you would no doubt rather be answered by real foster carers. We have therefore asked carers to share their journey to help you really understand the process.

Here is our first published journey – hope you find it useful.

andy-and-richard

Our Fostering Journey

By Andrew and Richard

 

18th May 2015

We made our initial enquiry to the Worcestershire Fostering Team and had a reply from their Recruitment BSO about two drop in events in Droitwich and Worcester. Our first thoughts of fostering were about five years previously and for a couple of years we had discussed fostering with one another and were curious to find out more. We waited until we moved into a house together before we made the first steps. I saw the Drop in Event advertised on the Worcestershire County Council website and previously had spotted newspaper adverts.


23rd May 2015

I attended a drop in Event at Droitwich Library and met Kevin (Boreham) and Dave (Blackwell), foster carers for Worcestershire County Council. It was useful to meet foster carers and staff, whose enthusiasm made an impression on me. I remember asking about finances, as I wasn’t sure if it was financially feasible to do it. Richard was not able to come to this event, so he went to a similar event on 5th September at The Hive with his mum. Richard found it answered questions about the reality of the
process and fostering. The County Council presented themselves as very open to same sex couples fostering. He was asked what age group we might like to help. This question wasn’t easily answered and provided us with food for thought, through the coming months. Richard’s mum indicated she would
offer support, and had experience of his sister who is a kinship foster carer. ‘We learnt later on in the assessment process that having a support network is very important.’


Early October 2015 – Home Visit

After a period of reflection, in mid-October there was an Initial Home Visit by a social worker and numerous formal application forms were received to fill in. This was potentially a nerve racking experience, but we were forewarned that it would include detailed questions. The social worker put us at our ease and being seriously interested and curious made it a two way process. We probably asked
as many questions as we were asked. It made me appreciate that the key point is to be able
to offer a loving home. The questions brought out that between us we had quite a lot of experience of working with, or being around children of different ages, even though we don’t have children of our own.


November 2015 – linked in with other carers

We were then linked to a same sex male fostering household, who were very reassuring as they were the first gay foster carers we had met working for Worcestershire County Council.


By mid-November we had posted back our fostering application pack

The feedback we had from the County Council was positive and so we submitted the application pack. The initial application form was straightforward.


End of November 2015 -Introductory Skills to Fostering course started

There were about 12 people on the three day course. The whole atmosphere was very welcoming and everything was explained very well. We learnt about fostering, types of fostering and children’s views of fostering.

We spent time discussing how foster carers work with many people around the child e.g. social workers, teachers, health care professionals. We heard about theories of attachment, resilience, and behaviour. We also discussed the practical part of fostering. One of the highlights was meeting a care leaver. He explained his background and answered questions we had. The course really focused us and left us feeling we were still keen to foster, although we were nervous as well as excited by the prospect.


Early December 2015 – Checks were underway

Referees had been contacted and we applied for police checks for periods we both lived abroad. We both had full medical examinations from our GP.


Mid December 2015

The process is rigorous, but it is easy to understand why it is important to see if prospective foster carers are suitable.
There is a minimum of 12 visits to enable the social worker to assess prospective foster carers and their home environment.
We were put at ease on the first meeting as the process was explained. We were told that there would be in-depth personal questions at times. After several visits we felt quite comfortable and looked forward to our meetings. There were some parts that were intense, especially when we were asked about our past. Periods in life that were perhaps character forming, but had long since been forgotten. It did take time to gather some documentary evidence and recall past addresses. Both of us had moved quite a few times when we were younger.

Reflecting on the past made us realise that some experiences we had would be beneficial to us as foster carers. For example e.g. our own childhood experiences, direct experience of supporting children or the indirect experience such as coping with stressful situations.
2016


End of November 2015 – Introductory Skills to Fostering course started

There were about 12 people on the three day course. The whole atmosphere was very welcoming and everything was explained very well. We learnt about fostering, types of fostering and children’s
views of fostering.

We spent time discussing how foster carers work with many people around the child e.g. social workers, teachers, health care professionals. We heard about theories of attachment, resilience, and behaviour. We also discussed the practical part of fostering.

One of the highlights was meeting a care leaver. He explained his background and answered questions we had. The course really focused us and left us feeling we were still keen to foster, although we were nervous as well as excited by the prospect.


Early December 2015 – Checks were underway

Referees had been contacted and we applied for police checks for periods we both lived abroad. We
both had full medical examinations from our GP.


Mid December 2015

The process is rigorous, but it is easy to understand why it is important to see if prospective foster carers are suitable. There is a minimum of 12 visits to enable the social worker to assess prospective foster carers and their home environment. We were put at ease on the first meeting as the process was explained. We were told that there would be in-depth personal questions at times. After several visits we felt quite comfortable and looked forward to our meetings. There were some parts that were intense, especially when we were asked about our past. Periods in life that were perhaps character forming, but had long since been forgotten. It did take time to gather some documentary evidence and recall past addresses. Both of us had moved quite a few times when we were younger.

Reflecting on the past made us realise that some experiences we had would be beneficial to us as foster carers. For example e.g. our own childhood experiences, direct experience of supporting children or the indirect experience such as coping with stressful situations.
2016


End of November 2015 – Introductory Skills to Fostering course started

There were about 12 people on the three day course. The whole atmosphere was very welcoming and everything was explained very well. We learnt about fostering, types of fostering and children’s views of fostering.

We spent time discussing how foster carers work with many people around the child e.g. social workers, teachers, health care professionals. We heard about theories of attachment, resilience, and behaviour. We also discussed the practical part of fostering.

One of the highlights was meeting a care leaver. He explained his background and answered questions we had. The course really focused us and left us feeling we were still keen to foster, although we were nervous as well as excited by the prospect.


Early December 2015 – Checks were underway

Referees had been contacted and we applied for police checks for periods we both lived abroad. We both had full medical examinations from our GP.


Mid December 2015

The process is rigorous, but it is easy to understand why it is important to see if prospective foster carers are suitable.

There is a minimum of 12 visits to enable the social worker to assess prospective foster carers and their home environment.

We were put at ease on the first meeting as the process was explained. We were told that there would be in-depth personal questions at times. After several visits we felt quite comfortable and looked forward to our meetings

There were some parts that were intense, especially when we were asked about our past. Periods in life that were perhaps character forming, but had long since been forgotten.
It did take time to gather some documentary evidence and recall past addresses. Both of us had moved quite a few times when we were younger. Reflecting on the past made us
realise that some experiences we had would be beneficial to us as foster carers. For example e.g. our own childhood experiences, direct experience of supporting children or the
indirect experience such as coping with stressful situations.


February 2016 – We drew up a Safeguarding Plan, a Fire Plan and a Personal Profile

The Personal Profile is a description of us, our home, and our lifestyle. This is put together for social workers to view to get an idea of who we are as a household when considering matching and placing children and young people.


March 2016 – We reviewed draft assessment

Our social worker dropped off the draft assessment for us to look over. She recommended we become foster carers and asked us to look over the documents.


March 2016 – LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week event at The Hive

We helped The Recruitment Team, with other carers, at an LGBT History Month Fostering Recruitment event at the Hive. This was a very busy event; it was good to see so much interest.


April/May/June 2016

The final assessment was delayed as it took a long time to get the overseas references. This delayed us going to Panel sooner. In June we started our e-learning and studied the courses: Equality and Diversity, Faith and Belief and Safeguarding training.


Panel – August 11th 2016

Afterwards we were told panel would recommend us to become foster carers and that formal confirmation would follow.

We were relieved and thrilled at the same time. It had been a lengthy build up over a year to the panel meeting and the positive news was so good. Our Assessing social worker was really pleased too and wished us luck.

More news to come…