The first steps are fairly informal, we are always happy to talk and meet with people who have an interest in foster caring to help them decide if it is the right choice for them.
Step 1 - Come along to an Information Evening
Come along to one of our Information Evenings. This is an informal event where you will hear more details about fostering and will be able to ask questions to fostering staff relevant to your own circumstances.
View our upcoming Fostering Information Evenings
Step 2 - Home visit
One of our team will visit you at your home at a time convenient to you. The short visit will last about an hour and will:
- Provide more details of what is involved
- Answer any queries
- Check proof of identity to comply with regulations (such as a passport or birth certificate, check with us if you are unsure about your proof of identity documentation)
If after these discussions you still want to proceed you will be required to complete an application form.
Step 3 - Training
South Tyneside view training as a very important part of becoming a foster carer. Our courses are designed to be friendly and welcoming as well as informative and enjoyable.
Once an application is approved you will be invited to attend pre-approval training which is delivered over 3 days and is arranged to best suit the participants.
Each session consists of small groups of potential foster carers and is run by 2 fostering officers and an experienced foster carer. This environment gives you the opportunity to learn about the tasks involved and develop the skills you will need as well as talk to people who are already fostering so you can share their experiences.
Following pre-approval training, further discussion will take place with potential foster carers regarding progression to the next step.
We have a permanent Foster Carer Development Officer on our team. All Foster carers are expected to undertake regular training facilitated through the Fostering Service. In addition to this, Mainstream carers must complete their Training and Development Standards within twelve months of their registration. Respite carers have eighteen months to complete this. All carers have the opportunity to study for the Certificate in Care (level 2) or the Diploma (level 3) which will be funded through the Student Loan process.
Step 4 - Home study assessment
Following on from the training programme, an individual Home Study Assessment will be completed by a social worker who will visit you in your own home.
This process takes on average 8 visits where the social worker will help you complete an assessment document detailing your life experiences and relevant skills. This helps to identify your strengths and any areas you may need to develop.
The completed assessment is then presented by the fostering officer to the 'fostering panel' - a group of independent people from all relevant agencies who make recommendations about the approval to become a foster carer. The recommendations made are reported to a Senior Manger within Children's Social Care for final approval. If your assessment is approved, you will become registered as a foster carer.
Step 5 - Ongoing support
As a foster carer with South Tyneside you are part of a team. Although you will provide day-to-day care for any child who needs looking after, we will involve you and support you at every stage. If you feel it is necessary, you can also have access to other professionals to help you look after a child, such as a psychologist.
You will be teamed up with a fostering officer who, through regular contact, will discuss any potential placements and offer support and guidance whilst a child is with you. You can also discuss and arrange with your fostering officer any other support and training that you find you require.
When a child is placed with you, you will help to put together a care plan for them. This may include specific responsibilities, such as making sure the child is able to visit her/his family and friends. It may involve working closely with a school, hospital or staff from other organisations.
There is a Foster Carers Liaison Group where you can meet with other carers and share experiences. The group also organise social events and take part in training.
Interested in becoming a foster carer?
If you would like more details about becoming a foster carer, give us a call for an informal chat. We are always happy to talk and meet with people who have an interest in foster caring.
Or you can enquire online, and one of the team will get in touch with you.
0191 423 8500