“Our family has just completed the assessment process and have passed our panel interview.
When the initial social worker visited, she talked about the general procedures and we told her a little bit about our family and lifestyle. She gave us an overall picture of the types of foster care and Hampshire County Council and all it involved and the next steps. We were then allocated an assessing social worker.
At the start our assessing social worker (ASW) made it clear how much detail went into the process, but it is not until it begins you fully acknowledge it. Our assessment social worker was with us every step of the way and was encouraging and very supportive throughout the whole thing. A student social worker was also involved with our application and it was a joy to watch her develop along the way.
We had a detailed inspection of the house and garden to ensure it was safe which although it is a long document was quite easy to tick off with a few minor adjustments and common sense.
The fire brigade also visited which shocked the neighbours as they came on duty in an engine. This was also very straight forward.
The assessment sessions I felt were the most daunting as there were questions about the past and about family which although needed to be asked, were often quite personal and sometimes emotional when brought to the surface. Throughout these sessions both individually and as a family our supervising social worker (SSW) helped and guided us through. At the beginning she joked that she would know us better than our family – she was right!
The courses we went on were really daunting at first, but we quickly settled in to them and met some amazing people along the way, both fellow foster carers teachers and also some inspirational young people who were CLA (children looked after) and birth children who shared their experiences.
All the courses have given us an understanding of all aspects of fostering and a thirst to know more about certain subjects, such as attachment and child development.
When we were assigned a foster buddy, I was a little worried about a stranger coming in to tell me loads of horror stories, but it was a very useful experience because she could explain how things are within your family setting. I found it easier asking her random questions rather than a professional. Whenever I have a silly question, she is only an email away.
The worst part was when we moved from our assessment social worker (ASW) to our supervising social worker (SSW) because she felt like our family friend and our mentor.
Overall the entire process has been a great journey and we have enjoyed it as a whole family, although sometimes it felt it went on forever.” – Claire, foster carer “I really enjoyed the whole process and really felt important and part of it. I liked the games we played to extend my knowledge. The social workers were really good and explained stuff well. It was a great experience.” Benjamin, Claire’s child.
Start your fostering journey with us today. Hampshire County Council has an outstanding OFSTED rating, reflecting all the work that takes place to help children reach their potential. We offer good support, fee allowances and extras for holiday, birthdays and Christmas. If you, or someone you know has the potential to start fostering please get in touch with Fostering Hampshire Children today - call 0300 555 1384 or visit www.hants.gov.uk/fostering