Fostering pet

Foster Carer Assessment

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

Fostering pet

First Step to Foster

Helen’s Fostering Blog

Finally, we make the big first step into fostering.

It was in the early stages of my relationship with my husband that we first discussed fostering.

As it was something I had always wanted to do I felt I needed to let him know this at the very beginning.  I asked how he might feel about fostering at some point in our future together, he was very honest and responded he really didn’t know much about it.

I explained I had a couple of books on fostering which he decided to read.  We talked about what he had read and he responded he was definitely interested in the idea of fostering but that it needed to be the right time and obviously at that point I had not even started a relationship with his daughter, but I was pleased that I had meet someone who thought it was something they felt they could do.

The discussions about fostering continued throughout our relationship and eventually an opportunity arose around 7 years into our lives together, when I took voluntary redundancy from my job of 20 years.  We were already looking into buying a new home and decided to go for a home with 2 extra bedrooms so that we could foster siblings.

We moved into our new home at the end of February 2018 and started decorating all 4 bedrooms first.  It was shortly after this I started the long process of looking into various different Fostering Agencies.

I had spent such a long time looking into fostering, the process and different approaches.

We had decided that for us it would be best to go through an agency rather than the LA.  Problem was there were so many to choose from and I wanted to make sure I made the right choice for us.  I noted down a few telephone numbers and details of agencies that seemed right for us.

Fostering UK (Simply Fostering) was at the top of my first choice.  One of the reasons for this was because they covered many areas.  The Director of Fostering UK called me back very quickly after my first initial register of interest.  I found him to be very straight talking and I liked the fact that they were a smaller, new and upcoming agencies.

The Director clearly had many years of experience in Fostering which made me feel more comfortable.  After a few days a representative from the company contacted us to arrange our first face to face meeting.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from that first initial meeting, but I do recall suggesting my husband wore a shirt.  When the lady arrived, I was delighted to see she had blue hair and looked very causally dressed.  I then started to understand that Fostering isn’t about how you look on the outside, all importance’s is put on what kind of person you are inside.

Helen – A New Foster Carer’s Blog 

Foster Care Blog Cat

This is us

Helen’s Fostering Blog

This is Us

Our Life – Our Story

Hello my name is Helen and I am a 46 year old Foster Carer.  Myself and my husband George have been fostering 2 children for 1 year now, in fact we celebrated our 1st Anniversary together as a family this weekend.

Together with the 2 children we foster, my husband also has a daughter from a previous relationship and with one very big fluffy ginger cat this makes-up our life and this is our story.

I would like to start my blog at the very beginning of my journey into fostering, which started when I was in my early 20’s and I had just come back from 12 months travelling.

I was working in an office in London as a Secretary and someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life.  I responded that I would love to foster at some point in the future, this was the first time I voiced this but it was probably something I just always knew, but for me it was at this point the idea was born.

Needless to say it has taken me a very long time to put that dream into action but I guess you have to have faith that everything happens as and when it supposed to.

In fact one of the questions I’ve find the most difficult to answer is “what made you want to foster?”

I don’t actually think there is a simply straightforward answer to this all important question, how do you explain it’s just something you always wanted to do.  I suppose for me there was a deep, heartfelt desire to want to help those most vulnerable and during probably the most difficult time of their lives.  I suppose I also always wanted to do something amazing with my life and for me that was fostering.

My own childhood was idyllic, I was the youngest of 3 children, my own parents were very loving, caring and fun.  I was surrounded by a very big extended and close family.

I was lucky ! My parents always had an open door policy at home, often our friends and cousins would find comfort and support through our family and I guess that rubbed off on me as I was growing up and how we need to look out for others and offer help however and whenever we can.

I think it is fair to say my husband’s upbringing was a little different, he came from a more fractured family life and I can see how that has had an affect on who he is, interesting this has made he want to be the best Dad that he can be as he knows how much he missed this in his life growing up.

I don’t know who I would have been if it had not been for the love of family and the joys of childhood, not everyone gets that start.

My hope is that for the children in our care, together with us as a family, the continuing relationship with their own family and the support they receive from the different people involved in their upbringing they might be able to move forward and experience a bright and positive future.

Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer – Working For Children’s Futures