As a foster care agency, part of our role is to recruit suitable and well vetted foster carers. In order to assess the suitability of our fostering applicants we carry out a number of background checks, as is required by the laws in which we work under. You will be fully involved in this process and we will guide you through the different stages of these checks.
One of the key checks we undertake is a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check; this used to be called a CRB or police check. This will let us know if you have any cautions convictions that would prevent you from fostering. Don’t worry if you do have cautions or convictions: as long as they are not of a violent or sexual nature and that you can demonstrate you have reflected and moved on, then it may not be a barrier to you fostering.
We will write to your GP and ask them to carry out a medical check, which you will be part of. As an agency we are not looking for perfect applicants, so don’t be put off if you have any health problems. If you are active and promote a healthy lifestyle, you are likely to be considered fit to foster. Please note that if you smoke this will limit the age range of children you would be eligible to foster and would prevent you from caring for children under the age of five.
We will also carry out three personal references and will aim to meet with two of your referees at some point during the application process. Likewise we will be keen to obtain a recent employment reference and write to any relevant previous employers, where you have worked with children or vulnerable adults. Part of the purpose of the checking process is for us to evidence your experience, which we can then present to our fostering panel as evidence of your skills.
Furthermore we will be keen to approach any significant ex-partners for their feedback. We are keen to stress that we are not looking for glowing references from ex-husbands and wives, this check simply helps us confirm there were no significant issues of concern that we should be aware of. We will also write to OFSTED (if you are or have been a childminder) and carry out a fostering reference if you have previously fostered with another organisation.
Finally, we will want to write to your children’s school if they are under the age of sixteen to obtain their comments. This helps us evidence how you have supported your own children with their education and again, we can use this to support our recommendation for you to foster, when you are later presented to our panel.
It may seem like a lot to take in at this stage, so please feel free to call our recruitment team on 0208 427 3355 if you would like further information or have any queries.