The application process
Being a foster carer is a great responsibility and a privilege: you will have a positive impact on the whole life of a young person. It’s a big decision for you and your family. Five Rivers are charged with finding people who are suitable for this important job so there are a number of steps to a fostering career with us.
We will let you know of our decision as quickly as we can at every stage of our screening process right from the moment of your initial enquiry when you contact our Carer Recruitment Team.
You contact our Carer Recruitment Team either by phone or online and they gather some key information about you and your circumstances.
Initial home visit
Once you have completed your initial enquiry, our Carer Recruitment Officer will contact you to discuss your interest in fostering further and will arrange an initial home visit. You will receive a detailed application form.
Once the initial home visit has taken place and, upon receipt of your completed application form, Five Rivers will allocate you one of our qualified social workers to undertake a comprehensive assessment.
Two Stage Comprehensive Assessment
In order for Five Rivers to decide if you are personally suited to become a foster carer, we will need to understand a number aspects of your life circumstances including who lives in your home, the accommodation you can offer and your state of health. We are also obliged to conduct a disclosure and barring check on your household, and contact any other fostering service you have worked for in the preceding 12 months. Within 10 days of receiving this information we will write to inform you of our decision and if successful, we will proceed the next stage
Your social worker will visit your home a minimum of 7 – 10 times to carry out a detailed assessment about you and members of your family household. The assessment is a joint process and needs full participation from applicants and their family.
During the assessment, you are required to attend a preparation course called ‘Skills to Foster’. This course is focused on preparing you for fostering and will help you make the decision that fostering is the right career for you.
After reading your assessment report, you attend our fostering panel with your social worker and the report is presented to them. The panel is group of appointed people who will make a recommendation in relation to your application to become approved as foster carers and provide the reasons for their recommendation.
Once the recommendation has been made we will inform you verbally and in writing to let you know if you have been approved as a foster carer.
Once approved, our Placements Officers start working to carefully match you with a child or young person.
Once a suitable match has been identified, you will be provided with information about the child or young person, if you decide to go ahead then the placement is made.
Training and Support
You will receive comprehensive training and will be fully supported by your own supervising social worker and your local fostering team.
This process normally takes between 4 – 6 months from start to finish, but most of our approvals are completed within 5 months.