Helen’s Fostering Blog
Form F – Assessment Process
After our first initial meeting with a representative from the Agency we were assigned a Supervising Social Worker.
A Supervising Social Worker provides both supervision and support to Foster Carers. Once approved they will visit you once a month for Supervision, they also attend all meetings involving the children with you such as PEP and LAC Reviews etc. They are on hand to assist and give advice, which is invaluable, particularly at the beginning of your journey into fostering.
Our Supervising Social Worker (Linda) was also the person who we completed the assessment with us. This was really helpful as we had already built a good working relationship with her by the time we had been approved.
The assessment process was outlined to us on our first meeting with Linda. She quickly made us feel at ease and we started to build a very honest and open relationship with her. The assessment process can take anything between 4-6 months and involves a series of meetings during this time.
On our first meeting Linda viewed our home and discussed our understanding of fostering and explained the fostering process itself. It was explained that over the next few months together we would be completing the Form F Assessment.
The Form F Assessment covers our abilities to foster. This will include everyone living in our home, including our cat and my husband’s daughter who visits every other weekend and during school holidays. At first the process can feel like a very daunting prospect. It will require you to be very open and honest with yourselves to really find out if fostering is right for you and more importantly if you are right to foster. We actually ended up finding the assessment very enjoyable.
It really made me reflective upon my own childhoods and the positive attributes of our relationship.
I truly believe our assessment was made easier and more enjoyable due to how well we got to know Linda during this period. You are sharing at times some very personal details about your views, feelings, your own childhood and parenting styles and yet I never at any point felt uncomfortable with this.
During this time we discussed with Linda our thoughts and feelings about how many children we felt we could foster and the age range of those children. At the time my stepdaughter was 10 years of age and we felt any children we fostered needed to be younger than her, but we didn’t really want to foster very young children or babies.
Over those few months of assessment it made us think about the commitment we would need to make and that therefore our footloose and fancy-free lifestyle that we had at that time would undoubtably change. This raised probably the biggest decision that we had to decide…. was this something we felt we could do and how would that decision change us as couple and our lives.
Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer – Protecting Children