Foster carer assessments can be a positive experience
The assessment process is often a cause of anxiety for many prospective foster carers. These are normal emotions to feel. You will, after all, be expected to open up all the doors of your life to someone coming in from the outside.
It is important that as an agency we get to know you and understand the path you have taken to come this point in your life. The assessment period can, however, be a very positive process for the prospective foster carer.
It is an opportunity to learn all about fostering caring, find out about how children come to be fostered and explore and even challenge the system in a safe environment. This is all great preparation for the journey ahead.
There are certain aspects of the foster carer assessment process which people can find a little intrusive. Given the nature of the role, there are a number of checks which need to be carried out and this is unavoidable.
As part of this process our supervising social worker will also ask you to retrace your life. If prospective foster carers feel a degree of anxiety at this stage then that it is only natural. We actually see it as a good sign when someone is not being too nonchalant about this. A little anxiety shows that someone is giving this process a great deal of thought.
A therapeutic process
On the whole, however, most foster carers actually end up reflecting on this assessment period as a therapeutic process. Prospective foster carers will be asked to describe their own childhood and parenting experiences – and these can be varied. Whether personal experiences of parenting were good or bad, talking about this can provide crucial insights that will help when fostering.
If you enjoyed really good experiences as a child and have been able to duplicate this with your own children, you will be able to bring massive attributes forward in to fostering. Although, if you had poor experiences you will also have key insights into what an uneasy childhood can be like. If a child turns around to you and says ‘you don’t know what it’s like’, well you actually do and can relate with them.
It is our own individual journeys that shape us and make us who we are. By understanding this we can learn from our experiences and provide a better quality of care when we are in a fostering role.
* If you would like any further information about fostering or the foster carer assessment process please contact our social workers, who will be happy to answer any questions you have.