If you do a quick search for fostering needs and requirements as specified by the UK government, you will find that the requirements are quite minimalistic. However, it does not paint the full picture. Meeting those minimum requirements is certainly a start, but they are by no means the full set of requirements and that’s for the best too.
It would, in fact, be insincere to allow everyone who meets the minimum requirements to take care of highly vulnerable and traumatised children. There must be additional safety measures put not place to filter out potential causes for concern. So, what is the full list of requirements for foster carers in England? Read through the following to get a proper idea.
The Minimum Requirements
Let’s start with the basic requirements, which most willing applicants will be able to meet comfortably. To join the foster care system in England, all applicants must be:
- At least 18 years or older, although most independent fostering agencies (IFA) will not accept applicants below the age of 21.
- A permanent resident/citizen of the United Kingdom.
- Capable of providing at least one spare room that’s fit for a child to sleep in safely.
Passing the Assessments
There will be two assessments and interviews carried out to judge the adequacy of your home as a potential foster home, as well as your own suitability to be a foster carer. The two assessments might be carried out in one just one visit, or they may be conducted separately. This depends entirely on the concerned local authorities and agencies. Visit a fostering agency in London if you live in or near London to know what to expect in this regard. Traditionally, the two assessments are carried out separately, with some gap between the two, so that’s how we will be dividing the two.
The first assessment will focus on suitability factors that centre around the applicant’s living conditions, home environment, and family history. The focus will be on:
- The home and its residents, including everyone who lives in that home with the applicant.
- The applicant’s history and status as a parent if they have children.
- Age of the applicant’s children and other minor details about them.
- Applicant’s relationship history and status.
- Applicant’s general health info, verified and medically stated by a general physician.
- History of fostering and/or adoptions within the applicant’s family if present.
- Two character references with contact details, who will vouch for your adequacy as a foster carer.
The second interview will focus entirely on the applicant and several aspects of their personality. Just like the first assessment, there will be a few questions that you will need to answer honestly to the best of your knowledge. Expect them to be about your:
- Likes, dislikes, personal beliefs, hobbies, areas of interest, personality type, etc.
- Upbringing, family background, culture, religion, ethnicity, spirituality, and the like.
- Communication skills, language skills, multilingual knowledge (if applicable), etc.
- Prior experience as a foster carer, a parent, or a professional involved in childcare.
- Willingness to foster children from other communities, ethnicities, religions, nations, etc.
- Willingness to foster children who have a different first language.
Although it goes without saying, no one with any recorded instance of sexual and/or serious violent crime should ever apply for fostering roles. However, wiling adults with old, petty, and nonsexual criminal records are allowed to apply. Selection will be left up to the discretion of the local authorities and the concerned agency.