There are various stages to the fostering assessment process, all of which help us get to know a bit more about you and what you’d be like as a foster carer.
Whether you’re on our standard foster assessment, or our Fast Track assessment, the final stage in your application will be your fostering panel. But exactly is a fostering panel, and what should you expect on the day?
What is a Fostering Panel?
The fostering panel, sometimes known as a foster care panel, is a legal process governed by fostering legislation and guidance which helps us decide whether to approve you as a foster carer.
Like our various checks and references, the fostering panel gives us (and our panel members) the opportunity to get to know you as a person. During your panel, you’ll be asked a range of questions, including your reasons for wanting to foster and what you can bring to role of a foster carer.
This can feel daunting, but we’ll make sure you’re properly prepared in the months leading up to your panel date. You’ll be given a date for your panel at the early stages of your assessment with us, giving you plenty of time to talk with your Assessing Social Worker and prepare for your panel.
Who Sits on A Fostering Panel?
Though the idea of sitting in front of a room full of people can be quite daunting, most people find that their fostering panel was much less intimidating than they though it would be.
According to fostering legislation, your panel members must include a Panel Chair, Vice Chair and Social Worker. However, there will also be at least three other panel members present who have professional or personal experience in fostering and childcare.
For example, your panel may also include existing foster carers, child nurses, child psychologists, or someone who is care-experienced (meaning they have spent time in foster care).
There will likely also be a Panel Adviser, Supervising Social Worker, and Administrator present at your panel. None of these individuals have the capacity to vote or make any recommendations about your approval as a foster carer; they are simply there to advise the panel on any fostering regulations and practices, take notes, and familiarise themselves with your application.
What Should I Wear to My Fostering Panel?
There’s plenty to prepare for when it comes to your fostering panel – but your outfit shouldn’t be one of them! Many people worry about what to wear to fostering panel.
However, we recommend people wear whatever they feel most comfortable in. While it’s always good to make a great first impression, your panel members won’t be judging you on your clothing, but rather your ability to provide excellent care for a child or young person.
What Kind of Things Will I Be Asked?
Before your panel, your panel members will have read your Form F assessment and will know a good deal about your personal circumstances and lifestyle, meaning they will be able to tailor the interview to suit you as an individual.
You can check out our list of example fostering panel questions to learn about the types of things you’ll be asked.
What Happens After Fostering Panel?
Following your panel, an official recommendation about your suitability for fostering will be made.
This recommendation will be based on whether the panel think you will be able to meet the needs of a child placed in your care and is crucial in deciding whether you should be approved as a foster carer.
A recommendation will also be made about the terms of your approval. This means the panel will recommend what type of fostering placements you can offer, the age range of the children you care for, and the number of children you can care for at once.
After the panel have made their recommendation, your application will be passed on to our Agency Decision Maker (ADM). The ADM’s role involves ensuring that our children’s safety and wellbeing remain the top priority, and they will have the final say in whether you are approved as a foster carer. They may have a few additional questions for you or your fostering panel before making the decision to approve you as a foster carer.
Should the ADM agree with the panel’s recommendation, you’ll be approved as a Compass foster carer! You’re now ready to be to receive your first fostering match, and begin your work transforming the life of a vulnerable child or young person.
If you have any further questions or concerns about your fostering panel, you should speak with your Assessing Social Worker – they will be happy to help.
Alternatively, to find out more about becoming a foster carer with Compass, get in touch with us today to request your free digital brochure.