The Assessment Process

The assessment process takes between six to eight months depending on your individual circumstances. Our duty is to ensure the children we place with foster carers meet our minimum standard requirements of care. The assessment includes police checks, employment references, a full medical as well as a health and safety inspection of your home.

Step 1 – Enquiry and Initial Home Visit (IHV)

Once we receive your enquiry, we will give you a call back to find out if you first meet our initial criteria and perhaps run through any other questions you might have. If your circumstances meet our needs, we will ask you for a convenient time when we can meet you at home for an Initial Home Visit (IHV). This is to explain to you more about the role of a foster carer, answer any questions, explain the assessment process and learn more about you. This can normally take between one to two hours. Many people have lots of questions to ask as we go through our assessment form.

Step 2 - Training (Skills to Foster)

To prepare you for the role of becoming a foster carer, our responsibility is to provide you with us much training and insight as possible. We will ask you to attend our ‘Skills to Foster’ course that takes place over three consecutive Saturdays. Skills to Foster will allow you to get a better understanding about the different challenges our children may have experienced including, neglect, trauma, attachment and behavioural issues. We will help you understand the role of being a foster carer and how you will manage expectations so you can effectively look after our children in care.
This is a good time to reflect on what you have learned so you can decide if fostering is right for you.

Step 3 - Assessment

We will also organise for one of our social worker’s to visit you several times in your home to get to know you, your experiences, your family life and how you all live together in your home. Our responsibility is to ensure that our children are looked after in a safe and stable home with lots of happiness, warmth and care. The assessment process enables us to see whether your lifestyle will meet the needs of our children. We can also highlight any areas that we may need to look at with you that may require you to gain additional experience to enable you to foster.
At the end of the assessment process, your social worker will then write a detailed report, called a Form F, which will be shared with you and discussed with the IW Council foster care team.

Step 4 - Isle of Wight Fostering Panel

The Fostering Panel is made up of people with a range of skills, knowledge and experience and includes staff members from IW Council. Some of our panel members have a professional background in child or social care, and others have direct experience with the fostering process, either through being a foster carer themselves or through being fostered in the past. Our panel members also have access to legal and medical advice should they need it as well as each other’s skills and expertise
A fostering panel will have the following duties:

  • To consider fostering applications and make recommendations about the suitability of applicants. This also includes making recommendations about the number, age range and backgrounds of the children placed with carers.
  • To review the continued suitability of foster carers.
  • To consider any serious complaint or allegation against a foster carer.
  • To ensure the fostering service works to certain standards.

Your Social Worker will present to the Fostering Panel a report based on evidence from their assessments and visits. The Isle of Wight Council Fostering Panel members will consider the information and give a recommendation about your approval. You will be asked to attend this panel meeting and will be supported by your Social Worker. The recommendation then goes to the Agency Decision Maker for a final decision.

Step 5 - Foster Care Placement

Once you’ve been approved, the fostering team will seek to identify an appropriate child or children for you and your family.
You will be allocated a Social Worker who will support you during your fostering journey. Ensuring you have access to adequate social work and other professional support, information and advice, to enable you to provide consistent, high quality care for a child placed in your home.

Step 6 - Ongoing development and support

You will receive ongoing training and support and guidance from your fostering supervising social worker. For more information please see the support and training pages.

Access our Fostering Service booklet (PDF, 12 pages, 2MB)