The Process – Simplified
Home for Good: Suffolk work closely with the local authority – Suffolk fostering and adoption agency – fosterandadopt.suffolk.gov.uk. however there are many independent fostering providers, which may be charities or private companies. You may choose who you foster through. Consider doing some research before you apply, particularly with regard to the support you will receive. Once you have chosen and made contact with your chosen agency there are two main stages to the assessment process:
Stage one lasts around two months. During this stage there is an opportunity to find out more about fostering/adoption and whether it is for you. There will be reading to do and training courses to attend. A number of checks are carried out. These include a DBS check, medical examinations and checks to ensure your home is suitable and child-friendly. References will also be taken up – usually three for each applicant. There will be occasional visit by a social worker and a short report will be created. The agency will then decide whether or not the applicant(s) can proceed to stage two.
Stage Two should take no more than four months. It involves the ‘Home Study’ – a series of six to 12 visits to find out more about you and your family, your background, support network, environment and neighbourhood, your views on parenting, what you think you have to offer and skills you might have or develop. During this time you’ll get to know your social worker really well, and they you! It will also be a time of self-discovery. At times the process will feel intrusive, but it’s important to remember why it’s so rigorous.
At the end of this time a final report will be completed. This isn’t a secret report. You’ll be able to read it, discuss it with your social worker, and add your comments.
You will now be ready for ‘Panel’. By now, as the work has already been done, the likely outcome is usually clear and the vast majority of applicants that attend panel are approved.
If you have applied to foster you will then be ready to receive you first placement.
If you have applied for Adoption the family finding process to match the right child/children for you will begin. This can take some time depending he the age, sex and needs for the children you have been approved for.
Regardless of the fact that you have a child in placement or have been match, as soon as you are approved you can start connecting with other families through are Home for Good: Suffolk connect groups and family events. This can provide important networks and new friendships, where you can talk confidentially to other who understand.