OFS is committed to ensuring that prospective foster carers are prepared to become foster carers in a way which addresses, and gives practical techniques to manage, the issues they are likely to encounter and identifies the competencies and strengths they have or need to develop. OFS's assessment process is set out clearly in terms of the qualities, skills or aptitudes being sought or to be achieved.
The written report on each applicant’s suitability sets out clearly all the information that the fostering panel and decision maker needs in order to make an objective approval decision. The reports are accurate, up-to-date and include evidence based information that distinguishes between fact, opinion and third party information. The reports are prepared, signed and dated by the social worker who assessed the prospective foster carer 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 2 to 6 months to be assessed and approved to become a foster carer, although sometimes longer. You will be kept informed of any delays at every stage.
During your assessment, your social worker will consider with you the type of fostering best for you, and the type of child or children you would be best able to care for. Your social worker will visit you at home, usually six to eight times over several months. The social worker will:
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 completed report then goes to the agency’s fostering panel which will consider the report and recommend whether or not you should be approved as foster carer. The panel is made up of approximately 5 to ten people, with knowledge of and an interest in fostering such as 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 foster carer. It may also give advice about the type of child or children you may be most suited to, for example a child between the ages of two and five, although there is some flexibility, and this is not a condition of your approval. The agency’s decision-maker will make the final decision to approve you based on the panel’s recommendations.