Fostering can be an amazing experience but may not always be easy. It is important that you take time to think things through, and talk it over with your friends and family.
Your initial enquiry
Everybody is welcome to find out more about fostering. Contact us and speak to our enquiry officer. At the start you will be sent an information pack and we will ask you a few questions - this is called an initial enquiry.
Meet the team
You will also be able to arrange to attend one of our information evenings, held in Oxford.
Here you'll have the ideal opportunity to speak to our recruitment team, social workers and experienced foster carers. They will be able to answer any questions you might have.
Discussing it in more detail
If you feel you this is the right time for you to find out more, we will arrange for you to have an initial home visit by a social worker. They will come and meet with you and your partner, if you are applying as a couple, to discuss your interest in more detail.
A formal application will authorise the agency to instigate statutory checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), probation department, NSPCC, and local authority.
A full medical examination will be organised with your general practitioner and we will take six written references from people who know you well, including family members (three of these personal referees will be visited by your Social Worker during the process).
Training and preparation
You will be invited to attend a two-day or four-evening preparation workshop to give you a better understanding of what is involved and also a time to reflect on your own life experiences. You will have the opportunity to meet other prospective foster carers and existing carers to hear their views and experiences.
Following the workshop you will be asked to reflect on what you have learnt and also if fostering is right for you. The training is a valuable part of the process to becoming a foster carer and it is a requirement that you attend prior to going to panel for approval.
A social worker will conduct a full assessment that involves a series of interviews. By getting to know you really well we will be able to make a decision as to which child is best to place in your family. If concerns arise during your assessment we will share these with you and you will be given the opportunity to address them.
During your assessment, we may also take up a housing reference, a reference from an employer, and contact former long-term partners or children.
Being approved by the Fostering Panel
You will be invited to attend our Fostering Panel that will make a recommendation as to your suitability to foster a child, the final decision is then made by the agency decision maker. If successful, we will start to match you with a child or young person.