We know that many people on the path to taking the step to becoming a foster carer do plenty of research in advance. It’s not a decision that is taken lightly so having insight into the role is essential to know.

When we hold our weekly meetings with our foster carers, we know how vital it is in having the team around to ask questions and get advice. So, in this blog we give you some insight into the assessment process through the eyes of our foster carers so that you can make an informed decision about your next step on the road to helping children and young people thrive.

What is the assessment process?

When we get your initial call, we talk through the role of a professional foster carer, application requirements, the career path, training and everything fostering children entails.

After a home visit, we assign a social worker who will start the formal process of becoming a foster carer. This involves 6-8 visits to your home which involves a mixture between virtual and home visits. During this process you also attend a virtual 3-day training session.

This culminates in the attendance at a fostering panel which recommends the approval for new applications. Your assessing social worker will work through the process with you and talk through potential questions or issues the panel may wish to discuss.

Mandy, one of our foster carers, says: “There are quite a few avenues to cover during the assessment process, from application forms, necessity checks to details about your life from birth to date. I was appointed an assessor, a supervising social worker, to guide me through the process and answer any concerns I may have.

“My assessor made me feel amazingly comfortable and I very much enjoyed the process. I found enjoyment reflecting and writing about my personal life almost like writing my autobiography.”

Life experience

The assessment process is not just about completing forms and training, it also sheds a spotlight on your life. This enables you to draw on your experiences and understand your core skills and strengths to benefit the future children that will come into your care.

Bunni, one of our foster carers, explains: “My journey through the assessment process was actually extremely enlightening. My social worker helped me walk through my life from beginning to end and I now think I know more about myself than I did a year ago.”

Communication skills

One of the key skills we look for when it comes to becoming a foster carer is that you have good communication skills, both verbal and written.

Here, Sarah summarises how her skills as a bookkeeper have been invaluable during the assessment process and throughout her day-to-day foster carer role: “Working with professionals my whole life I’ve been able to draw on this experience. Throughout the approval process and at placement stage you are dealing with so many professionals as well as the young person in your care. I’m a relatively calm and patient person which is really important when it comes to communication with your foster child in your care but also the team of professionals.

Become a foster carer

Is this role for you?

We have an urgent need for foster carers in London primarily in Lewisham ,Bexley and Bromley.

If you are empathetic, have great communication skills and a spare room in your home to accommodate a child or young person in care, become a professional foster carer at OwnLife fostering.