What is the fostering assessment for?
Once you have completed your application form and we have carried out the necessary checks, we will begin your fostering assessment.
A fostering assessor will be assigned to you and your family. All of our assessors are friendly, keen to put you at your ease and experienced in producing fostering assessment reports.
The job of your assessor is to provide a detailed report on you, your partner and your family. This report will look at your life experiences, motivation, strengths and qualities . It should also flag up training opportunities. In addition to this, the report will give your fostering provider pointers on how best to support you.
What will my assessor want to know?
The assessor will produce a final report, ubiquitously known as the Form F. If you want to have a thorough look at what the report contains, you can see a sample here. However, this blog summarises it nicely for you!
Your assessor will focus on the main body of the report. Through a series of face to face visits, conversations and informal interviews he/she will cover a range of topics.
Your early life experiences
A big part of who you are today stems from the experiences you had as a child. Your early experiences shape you, your views and often give you motivation in life. We do not expect our carers to have idyllic childhoods. In fact, we often find that carers who have had difficult times in life are able to empathise with our children and young people. Difficult situations and circumstances often help us to build resilience; something foster carers need in buckets! That said, if you had a wonderful childhood, this can also serve as motivation in wanting to share this with others.
Your adult life including relationships and employment
Your assessor will talk to you about the other experiences you’ve had throughout your life. This will include your experiences of significant romantic relationships, what you learned from them and how they have shaped who you are today. We’re interested in all the facets that make up who you are, including your professional life. The assessor will seek to demonstrate what transferrable attributes you will be bringing to fostering.
Your personality and current relationship
Who are you as a person? What are your strengths? What is important to you? The fostering assessment will paint a detailed picture of who you are and what motivates you. If you are in a long term relationship, the assessment will be detailed for both of you. Therefore you will both meet with the assessor together and separately.
When it comes to your relationship, we’ll want to understand how you work as a team. What are your complimentary strengths and qualities? Why does your relationship work? How do you expect to share the fostering, practically and emotionally?
Birth children and support network
If you have children, they will form an important part of the fostering assessment. We will want to ensure that their feelings and views are taken into account, even if they are fully grown and living away from home. It may be that they envisage being part of your support network. Perhaps they are still living at home? Either way, we will need to ensure that they are fully included in the support package that we put together for you.
Foster carers do need good support from friends and family and we will want to ensure that your support network is robust and reliable.
Your capacity and motivation to foster
The assessor will be looking for evidence to support your application. Fostering involves a variety of areas in which you will need to develop skills. How can you demonstrate warmth, empathy, encouragement. What are your attitudes towards diversity (race, gender, sexuality, religion)? How can you demonstrate that you will support a child in their education? What skills might you have in advocacy? How will you support contact with the birth family? How might you work with other professionals?
Your assessor will ask you a variety of questions to help include all the strengths and competencies you will bring to fostering. By their nature, the questions will require you to dig deep but you should NOT feel judged or interrogated.
What do our carers say about the fostering assessment?
We were a bit anxious that it would be intrusive but the process allowed real soul searching and was actually very liberating!
Our assessor was friendly, open and we never felt judged. We built a good relationship and trusted her to represent us faithfully in the Form F.
What happens after the Form F is written?
Once the assessor has finished the fostering assessment, you will be ready for the panel! This will be the subject of our next blog. Stay tuned!