First of all, you will need to consider carefully which of the foster care schemes most suits you and whether you feel you have the skills, experience and commitment required to become a foster carer.

If you would like to find out more:

When we have received your online form or you have contacted us by telephone, we will then send you a brochure containing information on fostering in Warwickshire. We will telephone you to gather information and discuss your interest in fostering and assess your suitability.

During this call, we will give you more details about the different types of fostering and decide if you would benefit from a home visit. Following this phone call, we will send you a further information pack. The further information pack will tell you about the skills you need to become a carer, the tasks involved in caring for a child and the support and training you will receive when you foster for Warwickshire.

This home visit provides you with an opportunity to discuss your own personal circumstances and to reach a decision with the social worker on whether or not you wish to continue with the first stage of your application. We will also tell you about the assessment process to become a carer.

References

In order to proceed further, you will need to give your consent for us to take up references. These will be in the form of three personal references (a family member and two friends who know you well).

We will also take up statutory references from the disclosure and barring service (DBS), children’s services (previously social services), probation, health trust, and your GP.

The DBS references are important and help us to identify anyone who may have serious offences particularly in relation to children. It is most important that we ensure that all children are protected and safe from harm.

We will also need to take up references from any ex-partners with whom you have cohabited in the past.

All references need to be satisfactory. They form an important part of your application and you will need to consider these carefully.

Fostering courses

While the references are being taken up you will be invited to attend a short course called Focus on Fostering. This course offers you an opportunity to learn more about fostering.

The courses are run locally and are offered at weekends and during the week. The course comprises a total of two sessions and each potential foster carer will need to attend. The course contributes to your assessment.

Assessment

A social worker will make arrangements to begin your assessment.

You and your family will be visited at home and you will be required to provide evidence of your suitability to foster in line with national fostering standards.

You will be guided through this process by the assessing social worker who will write a detailed report about your application to foster.

You will see the final report and sign it and have an opportunity to make your own comments.

Approval

When your assessment is completed it is presented to the fostering panel which you will be invited to attend. The panel will make a recommendation to approve Warwickshire foster carers. Once approved by the agency decision maker you are then officially a foster carer for Warwickshire County Council.

How long does it take to be approved?

The time the initial process takes can vary, but we aim for the time the assessment takes to be six months from the date you apply.