This week, some of our potential foster carers attended a 3 day Skills to Foster pre-approval course, which is a valuable part of the assessment process. It’s an intense few days, but we are so pleased they have all come out the other side with enthusiasm. Here’s how some of them reflected on both the course itself, and their experience of the assessments process so far;
What type of fostering are you hoping to do, and what stage of the assessment process are you at?
"For me, it’s not about the age; it’s about the needs of the child. I think that’s what’s more important to me. I’m still in stage 1. I’ve had the initial home visit. I’ve got to do all my references and I think that once that’s done, I’ll be onto stage 2"
"We’re thinking about the 10-16 age group. We’re at stage 1, coming into stage 2 after today"
"We’re at stage 2 of the process, so we’ve had all our visits from our social worker, we’ve done the medical and we’ve done the DBS checks. All being well, we’re looking to go to panel in March. We initially thought of fostering children school age and up because we have nieces and nephews that are a similar age, but coming out of the course has opened our eyes to other possibilities. We may now consider looking after older children"
How have you found the Skills to Foster Course and how are you feeling now it’s finished?
"I’m pleased it’s done! I’ve really enjoyed it and I think the way it’s been delivered has been fantastic. It felt really real. Being realistic about all the situations and knowing your triggers and that sort of thing. So I feel good that I’ve done it but I’ve still got a bit of a journey ahead"
"I really really enjoyed this course, it’s nice to meet with a wide variety of people, who all have the same interests. And it was so relaxed! I think that’s what struck me the most. I felt very safe and able to talk about lots of things. The social workers who led the course were fantastic and the guest speakers where really informative. We came in eager to do it, and we really really want to do it now, we really want to see it through"
"It’s reinforced a lot of my feelings about becoming a foster carer. We’ve covered a lot of ground in a very short space of time, it’s been very intense, but I’ve enjoyed it and it’s certainly increased my understanding of the support systems out there and what further training is available should you need any. It’s made me more determined really. I’m really keen. Trouble is, because I get excited about it, and because I’m animated and I’m passionate, I want to talk about it. I have to remind myself to shut up a little bit and to let other people speak… but I was just so engaged with it, I thought it was brilliant"
"It’s confirmed to us that there is a support network out there if you need it, and I think the sessions were great. There was lot of content covered in the three days. Some of the subjects we approached were uncomfortable but I think it was all delivered really well. The content of the course was really good"
How are you feeling about the assessment process in general… both in terms of what you’ve experienced so far and in regards to what is to come?
"I’m not under any illusions. Some questions I find uncomfortable. But the process is good. I work with young people who are very vulnerable, and you need to do this kind of process to make sure you are up to it, to protect yourself and to know that this is the right thing"
"We’re very positive, I think anyone would feel quite apprehensive about a social worker practically moving into the house and asking personal questions, but actually, having talked with the rest of the guys, they’ve all said they are finding it very therapeutic"
How are you feeling about your future as foster carers?
"I’m really excited about it and I didn’t really expect to feel like that. I thought, ‘I’m doing this course, and it’s going to be heavy’ but now it’s come to the end, I’m really excited about the prospect of it all"
"Really excited! The only regret I’ve got is that we’ve not done it before. We have been talking about this for a long long time. We could have done it earlier… but it’s our time now"
"I’m excited, but also a little apprehensive, but in a good way. As I said, you can do all the theory you like… you can read a book about playing golf but when you try to swing a ball you’re going to be all over the place. So you’re really not going to learn about being a foster carer until your fostering. However, you’re backed up by all this knowledge you have… so I’m confident"
"I actually can’t wait to go! I’m really excited! The support behind it is brilliant and that’s what we’re so pleased about"
We wish them all the very best for the next steps of their journey
If you would like to know more about the assessment process, you can read about it on our website here