After your initial visit, if you and Compass Fostering have agreed to progress onto the next stage, a Form F assessment will be created for you. A Form F is what we call your more in-depth fostering assessment. This is to get a real picture of who you are, and why you’d be perfect for fostering with us.
As a UK fostering service we undertake these assessments as it is our priority that vulnerable children are kept safe. Every child’s wellbeing is at the centre of every decision made- and this includes assessing our potential foster parents.
Every Form F assessment is thorough, but it isn’t designed to be intimidating or too intrusive. We need to make sure that each one of our foster carers have been through the same checks and that you are able to feel comfortable to share your story with us.
What will happen during my Form F Assessment?
Generally, a Form F assessment takes from 3 to 6 months for us to complete with you. This may seem like a long time, but we’re proud to say that we’re leading the way for the shortest assessment times. Our dedicated local teams take you through the process so it’s as simple for you as possible. Times can vary, and it will likely be quicker the more available you are for home visits.
Home visits and your Form F assessor
At the beginning of your assessment we will allocate an Assessing Social Worker, or ‘Form F Assessor’ to you. They will work with you and your family to create your Form F together. You will build a relationship with them as you have each visit, and as you discuss your family life and background. They’ll ask you about your children if you have them, previous jobs and your relationship with your family; this is to get a sense of who you are as a person, and how you’ll fit in to fostering.
Some conversations can bring up your past experiences which you may feel nervous about. But any hurdles you have overcome can only serve you positively during assessments like this. It will show your resilience and how you can manage things like stress and challenges effectively in your day to day life.
The questions we ask will be designed to find out how fostering will affect you and your family. We ask you to be as honest as possible with us, and if you have anxieties, our Compass staff will be happy to talk you through them.
Checks and references
Your own local Recruitment Administrator will be dedicated to help you through your checks and references section. If you’ve had experience with working with children, we’ll need to request references from previous employers; this is so we can properly safeguard the children in our care.
We will also create a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check for you as a simple background check.
Another check we ask you to complete is a foster carer medical assessment with your GP. This referred to as a fostering medical, and this is just to make sure that you don’t have any medical conditions that could affect your ability to foster a child.
Having a criminal record or a health problem does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to foster in the UK but it is important that you are honest with us. We need to know about these issues from the beginning so that we can discuss and understand your circumstances.
As your report is written up with your Form F Assessor, we will invite you to attend our 3-day Skills to Foster course. The training is designed to help you learn about fostering alongside others going through the process. This training is an important foundation to give you the confidence to take your first fostering placement.
Once you have attended this course and your assessment is complete, you will attend a panel interview where experts will make the decision on whether they think you are suitable to become a foster carer.
Next step: Skills to Foster