OFS is committed to ensuring that potential family and friends foster carers (Kinship) are provided with information about the assessment process, so they know what is expected of them, how they will be assessed, including the criteria that will be used and how particular issues for family and friends foster carers will be addressed, and any support offered during the assessment process. When assessing an individual’s suitability to be a family and friends foster carer, the likely length of the placement, the age of the child, the wishes and feelings and any concerns of the child and, if appropriate, the capacity of the wider family to contribute to the child’s long term care, are taken into account.
The reports are prepared, signed and dated by the social worker and countersigned and dated by the experienced quality assurance manager here at OFS. This means, you are guaranteed an accurate and quality assured assessment.
It usually takes about 1 to 4 months to be assessed and approved to become a Kinship carer, although sometimes longer. You will be kept informed of any delays at every stage.
During your assessment, you would be asked about your knowledge of the child’s behaviour and background and any concerns you have about the child, as well as being provided with information about the child that is held by the local authority.
Where a family and friends foster carer is temporarily approved as a foster carer under regulation 24 of the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010, a full assessment is completed within 8 weeks of being allocated to OFS.
At the end of the assessment, your social worker will prepare a written report which you can see and comment on but may not be able to keep a copy except agreed by the client or agency (Local Authority or Court) who contracted OFS to undertake this assessment.
The report will be presented to the agency’s fostering panel. The panel is made up of approximately 5 to ten people, ‘with knowledge of’ and ‘an interest in’ fostering; for example, a foster carer or fostered child. You would be invited to attend panel.
The panel will make a recommendation as to whether or not you should be approved as a Connected Carer. The agency’s decision-maker will make the final decision to approve you based on the panel’s recommendations.
When you are approved as a connected carer, you are only allowed to foster child/children who are related to you through blood or close family friendship. However, the principles, assessments and regulations are the same as being approved as foster carer.