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The final part of the application to become a foster carer requires you to attend a fostering panel meeting that recommends the approval for new applications. This is the last hurdle before you’re approved and get ready to welcome a foster child into your home.
There will have been a lot building towards this moment as the assessment process can take between 3 and 6 months. This can mean that people often feel very nervous about the panel and are worried that everything they’ve worked on over the last few months hangs on how the discussion goes.
First of all, it’s important to understand what the fostering panel is responsible for. The panel includes members of Family Fostering Partners staff as well as independent panel members who all have knowledge and experience in the field. The meeting is chaired by someone independent from the agency and the purpose of the meeting is to discuss your application (called a Form F Report) and iron out any last details. The panel will ask you any questions they may have and you also have the opportunity to ask them any questions you have too.
The meeting is usually no longer than an hour. This may seem daunting at first but think of it as you would a normal interview. The panel is simply trying to get to know you better and ensure that their final decision on your suitability for the role is correct. We are completely aware that you may feel nervous but your social worker and the panel members will do what they can to put you at ease. You can take time with your answers and bring up anything that may still be worrying you. Think of it as an open conversation. Our team will be just as keen for you to be successful as you are!
As the panel will have already read your Form F prior to the meeting, they may want to ask you specific questions regarding your application. These will be personal to your situation and will often require you to provide some more details and background on areas where they would like more information. As well as personal information, you will also be asked some generic questions about why you choose to foster. If you wish to get prepared, you can think about your answers to these questions beforehand.
Why would you like to be a foster parent? - By this stage in the process you will have committed yourself to the decision so this should be an easy one to answer. As long as your reasons are genuine and you clearly demonstrate a passion for the role this question shouldn’t trip you up.
What is your support network like? - Fostering is hard work and oftentimes can be challenging. Having a support network around you will help you to overcome difficult times and ensure you are supported. We understand that not everyone has family they can rely on but just having a friend who can step in for a chat and a cup of tea can help!
What are your expectations of fostering? - By now you will have attended training and will know what to expect from the role. We want to hear what you have learned so far and how you will approach and tackle the role.
How will you adapt to fostering? - Becoming a carer will change your life dramatically. How you adapt to the role will be very personal to you. If you have your own children you will need to adapt to caring for them alongside a foster child or if you work part-time you will need to ensure you are available to attend meetings, appointments, and school pickups. Be open and honest and explain how you will try to adapt to the upcoming change.
Remember that the fostering panel is a judgement-free environment! It’s normal to be nervous but your social worker will have prepared you as much as they can and will always be on your side. They are available to settle any of your concerns and answer any questions during your entire application from first home visit through to panel, and beyond!
Feel ready to kickstart your journey to becoming a carer? Get in touch with us today to start the process by calling 03300 948816 or book a call with us at a time that suits you. Alternatively, if you’re not ready yet but would like to know more feel free to request an information pack and click here to ask any questions you may have.
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