Welcome to Think Fostering!
Here at Think Fostering, we’re committed to making the fostering journey as enriching and smooth as possible. Whether you’re only beginning to consider the idea, or you’re ready to take the next step, we’re here to guide you every step of the way.
Thinking About Fostering?
Great! We’re here to help answer all your questions and address any concerns you may have. From understanding the fostering process to knowing what support is available to you, Think Fostering is your go-to resource and partner.
I’m Thinking About Fostering | What Are The Steps?
That’s fantastic! Thinking about fostering is the first step towards making a real difference in a child’s life. Here’s a general outline of the steps involved:
1. Initial Inquiry
Contact us at Think Fostering via our website, phone, or email. Our team is ready to answer any questions and provide information to help you decide if fostering is right for you.
2. Initial Home Visit
Once you express interest in moving forward, we arrange a home visit. This is an informal meeting where we can get to know each other better. We’ll talk about fostering, what it means for you and your family, and assess the suitability of your home for fostering.
3. Fostering Application
If you decide to continue after the initial visit, you’ll be asked to fill out a formal application. This involves providing detailed information about yourself, your family, and your background.
4. Preparation Training
During the assessment process, you’ll attend a preparation training course. This course will give you a deeper understanding of what to expect as a foster parent, the kind of children you’ll be looking after, and the challenges and rewards fostering brings.
A social worker will conduct a thorough assessment, called a ‘Form F’ assessment in the UK or ‘home study’ in the US. This involves a series of visits to your home, background checks, personal references, and detailed discussions about your lifestyle, family, health, and experience with children. It’s a comprehensive process designed to assess your suitability to become a foster parent.
6. Foster Panel Approval
Once your assessment is complete, your social worker will compile a report that will be reviewed by a fostering panel. This panel, which consists of individuals with professional or personal experience in fostering, will recommend whether or not you should be approved as a foster carer.
7. Matching and Placement
After approval, the matching process begins. We consider your skills, experiences, and preferences, as well as the needs of the children, to make the best possible match. When a match is found, a child or children will be placed in your care.
8. Ongoing Support and Training
Even after placement, our journey with you continues. We provide ongoing training, regular check-ins, 24/7 support, and a vibrant community of fellow foster parents to ensure you feel supported at every stage of your fostering journey.
Who can become a foster parent?
Anyone with the passion and commitment to make a difference in a child’s life can become a foster parent. At Think Fostering, we welcome individuals and couples from all backgrounds and walks of life. Whether you’re married, single, in a same-sex relationship, employed, or retired, fostering could be for you.
However, there are a few basic requirements. For instance, you must be at least 21 years old, have a spare bedroom, and be in good health to meet the demands of looking after a child or young person. Remember, the most important thing is that you can provide a stable, loving environment that supports a child’s growth and development.
What kind of support does Think Fostering provide to foster parents?
At Think Fostering, we understand that fostering, while rewarding, can also bring its own set of challenges. That’s why we’re committed to providing our foster parents with unparalleled support at every stage of their fostering journey.
To start, we offer comprehensive pre-approval training that equips you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need as a foster parent. Once you become a foster parent, you’ll be assigned a dedicated social worker who will provide regular support and guidance. Additionally, we provide ongoing training and professional development opportunities to ensure you stay equipped to handle the varying needs of the children in your care.
But it doesn’t stop there.
We’re proud of our supportive community of experienced foster carers who can share their experiences, advice, and reassurance. And should you need it, we offer a 24/7 helpline for any urgent concerns.
What’s the process to become a foster parent?
Becoming a foster parent involves a thorough process that ensures the best match for both the child and the foster family. At Think Fostering, we aim to make this process as smooth and transparent as possible.
The process starts with an initial inquiry. You can get in touch with us via our website, email, or phone. Our friendly team will answer your questions and provide information about fostering. If you wish to proceed, we arrange an initial home visit.
Next is the application and assessment phase, which includes background checks, personal references, and a detailed assessment of your ability to foster. Don’t worry, our team will guide you throughout this process.
After approval, we move to the matching phase. We consider your skills, experiences, and preferences, as well as the needs of the children, to make the best possible match. Once a child is placed with you, we continue to provide ongoing support to ensure a successful fostering experience.
How long does the foster care process take?
The timeline for becoming a foster parent can vary depending on individual circumstances, but on average, it takes around four to six months from your initial inquiry to becoming a fully approved foster parent. This time is necessary to ensure thorough preparation and understanding of the fostering role.
The assessment process includes several stages, such as application submission, home study visits, and attending preparation training. It’s important to remember that these steps are designed to ensure that fostering is the right decision for both you and the child.
How will fostering affect my own family and children?
Fostering can have a profound impact on your own family and children, often in very positive ways. It can instil values of empathy, compassion, and understanding in your children. They will learn firsthand about diversity, resilience, and the power of giving.
However, it’s also important to acknowledge that fostering may pose challenges. There may be instances of emotional stress or increased demands on time and resources. To help navigate these dynamics, we offer guidance and support to the entire family. This includes resources, counselling, and training to ensure your family understands and can effectively handle the fostering journey.
What types of children need foster care?
Children in need of foster care come from diverse backgrounds and various age groups, each with a unique set of circumstances, needs, and strengths. They may need foster care due to a variety of reasons, such as neglect, abuse, family crisis, or parental incapacity.
There are also different types of fostering, including short-term, long-term, emergency, and respite care. Some children may have special needs or belong to sibling groups that need to be placed together. At Think Fostering, we provide you with the training and resources you need to support these children and help them thrive.
Can I work and also be a foster parent?
Yes, you absolutely can. Many of our foster parents successfully balance their fostering responsibilities with their professional lives. However, it’s essential to remember that the needs of the child are paramount, and certain fostering situations may require more flexibility or availability than others.
Particularly for younger children or those with specific needs, you may need to be available for various appointments, meetings, or emergencies. We encourage you to discuss your work situation with us, and together we can explore how to balance these responsibilities effectively.
How much will I know about the child before they are placed with me?
Before a child is placed with you, we strive to provide as much information as possible about the child’s background, health, education, and emotional behaviour. This information helps you prepare and adjust your home and life to meet their specific needs.
However, it’s important to note that there might be instances where limited information is available, especially in emergency placements. Regardless of the situation, our team will be on-hand to support you through this transition and address any issues that might arise.
Do foster children have contact with their birth families?
Yes, most foster children maintain some level of contact with their birth families, unless it’s deemed not in their best interest. The frequency and nature of this contact vary greatly and can include phone calls, letters, or supervised visits.
As a foster parent, part of your role might involve supporting these interactions. This can be challenging, but remember, you’re not alone. Our team at Think Fostering provides guidance and support to navigate these complexities, ensuring the well-being of the child is always upheld.