Ideally, four to six months, but, as we depend on the prompt co-operation from other agencies such as your local Education Department, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), Health Visitor and GP, as well as your personal reference providers. If they don’t respond quickly, time is wasted. If you have had previous relationships, we will need to chat with your former partner(s). If you have children, they will be part of the assessment process as will anyone close to you who will have a significant presence in your home, such as a parent, sibling or friend. This is a very time consuming part of the assessment but it is vitally important we make sure you, your family and foster children are safe and happy.
Whilst gaining references, we will visit you many times to write your ‘Form F’. This is a lengthy document describing your childhood, your relationships with parents and those around you, your work experience and, if you have children of your own, your parenting style. It is an extremely detailed document, covering virtually every aspect of your life. Many of our carers find this an interesting and enjoyable experience, but it does take time. It will be updated to reflect any changes to your personal circumstances occuring throughout your fostering career, such as your increased experience of foster caring, moving house or a new pet coming to live with you.