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Preparing to be a Foster Parent

It’s great that you’re ready to start preparing to be a foster parent. Fostering is an amazing thing to do and helps give a child a second chance to live a happier and brighter life. However, fostering isn’t just beneficial for children and young people, foster parents gain so much joy and life satisfaction from the children in their care. It really is life-changing to foster, in the best possible way! 

Personality traits

As you begin to do more research around fostering, you should also take some time to speak to your friends and family about your decision and get their thoughts and opinions. It’s always important to surround yourself with a group of people who can support you in your journey. 

In terms of the type of people who make great foster parents, there are a few desirable personality traits. These include: 

  • Patience
  • Compassion 
  • Confidence
  • Resilience
  • Enthusiasm 
  • Open-mindedness

Think about which of these qualities you possess and which ones you would like to improve on. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as a parent is a great way to begin to prepare. Family Fostering Partners are also here to provide training and support to all of our carers. Any areas where you may feel you need additional support can be addressed.

The assessment 

If you are confident in your decision to foster, your link worker will begin to get you prepared for the assessment process. This can take a few months and will involve various home visits where information about you, your family, home, experiences and life are collated into a Form F report. 

Although you will be supported the whole way through the assessment process by a dedicated member of our team, there are a few things you can do to get yourself one step ahead of the game. 

  • Evaluate your personal details to ensure that everything is in check to foster - any criminal convictions, health and mental wellbeing, job (if applicable), and your finances
  • Prepare your accommodation - complete your spare bedroom, child-proof your property, ensure smoke alarms/detectors work, and that everything is well-presented. 
  • Speak to your partner or birth children (if applicable) and ensure they are on-board with everything

We understand that the assessment can sometimes feel intrusive or overwhelming but doing all that you can to be prepared is a great way to minimise stress and make the process as quick and easy as possible. 

The fostering panel 

All information from the assessment is then presented to the fostering panel, you will also be asked to attend alongside your social worker. Here, you will be asked further questions to clarify any of the points gathered in your Form F report. 

When preparing for the panel, you should consider it as you would any normal job interview. It’s not just a one-way discussion, but a chance for you to ask any questions you may have and address any worries or concerns. As long as you are open and honest in your approach and responses, there should be no reason to worry about the panel! 

Your first foster child 

Once approved by the Agency Decision Maker, you can begin your career as a foster parent! Now is the time to make any final preparations before your first foster child arrives. This can be a very exciting but also nerve-wracking time; ensuring you are ready for a child or young person’s arrival is a great way to qualm any worries and ensure everything is in place for them. 

Good places to start include: 

  • Creating a ‘Welcome’ book with pictures of your family alongside names and pictures of your home
  • Creating a cosy and safe bedroom with blankets, pillows, and other homely items
  • Preparing a whiteboard or notice board for family announcements, schedules, or chores
  • Ensuring you have the essentials ready like fresh bedsheets, a toothbrush, towels, as well as a good stock of food! 

Remember that when preparing to be a foster parent, you are never alone. Our team at Family Fostering Partners are dedicated to providing the very best support for all of our prospective and approved carers. Read more about our support services here. 

To become a carer with Family Fostering Partners, please get in by calling 03300 948816 or filling out our contact form below. 

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