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Guernsey Foster Care

Will isn't sure how to improve the situation with his family and feels like the world is against him

How do I become a foster carer?

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 consideration. 

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 foster carer.

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 Service)
  • 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 obtained
  • 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 household
  • 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 comments.

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.

8. Fostering

Now the fun begins! Here's where you'll start to experience the challenges and the enormous personal rewards that come with being a foster carer.

With your approach and our support, we're sure you'll excel in your new role.

Want to become a foster carer?

Call 01481 713230 now!

"You need to have patience and the ability to understand and take on the child’s needs. It is a busy, fulfilling and a rewarding job - we wouldn’t have it any other way. We love it."

Makela - a long-time foster carer Watch my video » How do I become a foster carer?