How do I become a foster carer?
Here's how to go about becoming a foster carer:
1. Registration of interest
Firstly you will need to contact us to express your interest in
becoming a foster carer. You can ring us on 01481 713230. The
duty social worker will discuss your interest, take down some basic
details and provide you with an overview of the fostering role and
responsibilities. If appropriate the duty social worker will
arrange for a fostering information pack to be sent out for your
2. Request for initial visit
Once you have had the chance to read the information and you
have decided that you would like to find out more you can request
an initial visit. Simply complete the request form included in the
pack and send it straight back to the team.
3. Initial visit
Once we have received the request for the initial visit,
we'll contact you to arrange a first meeting, usually at your
home, where one of our experienced team members will be happy to
answer any questions you have about becoming a foster carer. It's a
chance to discover if foster caring is right for you and your
family. We'll find out a bit more about you too at this meeting and
just check that there's nothing that would stop you from becoming a
foster carer. It's a 'finding out' session for everyone and there's
no obligation at all to proceed with your application if you decide
it's not right for you.
4. Skills to foster training
If appropriate, you will then be invited to attend our 'skills
to foster' training course. This is your opportunity to learn much
more about fostering on a course run by our own experienced staff
assisted by foster carers. You'll be introduced to the challenges
of foster care, the kinds of experiences children may have gone
through and why they may behave in certain ways. You'll also learn
about the people you'll be working with, for example the child's
family, social workers and other professionals, and what is
expected of you as a foster carer. The course will also contribute
to your assessment. The course is presented several times
throughout the year and weekend training is also available for
those who find it difficult to attend mid-week.
5. Your application
If, after our training, you feel more determined than ever to
proceed with your application, we'll provide you with an
application form which you'll need to complete and get back to us
before we can go any further. For couples, both of you will need to
complete a form as you will undergo careful assessment, checks and
preparation training because each of you needs to be approved as a
6. Home study and assessment
If your application is suitable and you decide to go ahead
with your application, the next step is for a member of our team to
visit you at home over several visits to get a more rounded picture
of how you would cope with the responsibilities of foster care.
We'll talk about your life, your childhood, the way your family
functions and other subjects which may influence the way you'd care
for a foster child. This is all in line with national standards and
we'll guide you through the process. We understand it can be a
demanding and sometimes stressful part of the process but it's in
everyone's interest to get it right for you and your family and for
any children who may come to be looked after by you.
By law, we have to undertake rigorous checks to ensure the
suitability of our foster carers who look after vulnerable children
and young people. These are:
- A Criminal Records Bureau check on all people in the household
who are over 18 and any people who will be supporting you (such as
relatives and babysitters)
- States and other agency checks (e.g. N.S.P.C.C., Probation
- Child health and education checks will be carried out on any
school-age children in the household
- Written current or most recent employers' references are needed
for each applicant. Additional references from any previous
employer where there was contact with children, will be
- A GP reference and full medical (if long term fostering)
- A minimum of three personal referees (one of whom should be a
family member) who will provide written references and be
interviewed as part of the assessment process - these references
need to "span your lifetime"
- Interviews will be carried out with any other adults in the
- Health and safety accommodation checklist
7. The Fostering Panel
Everything you've told us will be put together into a single
report to be put forward to either the Fostering Panel or the
Adoption and Permanency Panel. You'll have the opportunity to see
the report (excluding all references) and make your own
We will then present the report to the Fostering Panel. The
panel was established to provide a view, independent of the
Department, as to the suitability of a prospective carer(s) to
foster. They have a wide variety of experiences and they are
entrusted with making a recommendation on the basis of the report
and subsequent discussion. Prospective carers are invited to attend
with their assessing social worker.
The panel recommendation is considered by the agency decision
maker who will look at the report and the minutes from the panel.
We will tell you of the decision as soon as possible. In addition,
you will be informed in writing about the agency decision.
Once approved, you are then registered as a foster carer for the
States of Guernsey. Your fostering worker will visit you regularly
and help match your skills and family circumstances with children
who need to be fostered.
Once you have a child in your care, your worker will keep in
touch with the child's social worker and other professionals
involved. They will make sure that you get all the help you need to
provide a stable, safe and caring environment for the child placed
in your home.
Now the fun begins! Here's where you'll start to experience the
challenges and the enormous personal rewards that come with being a
With your approach and our support, we're sure you'll excel in
your new role.