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4.2 Assessing Prospective Foster Carers


This guidance applies to the assessment of all applications to become an approved foster carer for the Local Authority. It should be read in conjunction with

Assessment and Approval of Foster Carers Procedure


This chapter was amended in December 2011 to reflect the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, Associated Guidance and National Minimum Standards. This includes new references to suitable transport, and dealing with children's behaviour.

All assessments of potential foster carers will follow the format of the CoramBAAF Form F Assessments. 

The assessment should include the following:

  1. The applicant’s motivation;
  2. The applicant’s support networks;
  3. The views of members of the applicant’s family towards the application, including the children of the family whether still living in the household or not;
  4. The extent to which other members of the household will participate in the care and daily life of a child placed with the family;
  5. Other demands on the family, for example an elderly relative requiring care;
  6. The suitability of the accommodation, the available sleeping accommodation and transport;
  7. Previous relationships of the applicant and the reasons for breakdown (verified where appropriate by relevant paperwork and further enquiry of ex-partners);
  8. Present relationships;
  9. Current commitments, work patterns and life style;
  10. Proposed arrangements for after school care, school holidays and illness;
  11. The influence of religion including understanding of other denominations and faiths;
  12. Attitude towards race and culture;
  13. Attitudes to sex and sexuality;
  14. Attitudes to education, religion, race, culture and work;
  15. Access of the home to schools, school transport, public transport and other amenities;
  16. Views on care and control of children, including dealing with young people's behaviour, children taking responsibility for their behaviour and resolving conflict;
  17. Understanding of children with impaired development or special needs;
  18. Any issues of infertility, or the death/disability of a child of the family;
  19. Understanding of the reasons why a child may need a temporary or permanent substitute family;
  20. Understanding of the likely special problems of foster children including their feelings of separation and loss;
  21. Attitude to contact with the birth family;
  22. Understanding of the financial implications of fostering.

The assessment should address the applicant’s suitability for any particular group or age of children having regard to the applicant’s preferences.

The assessment should take account of Pets Policy.

In carrying out the assessment, it is important:

  1. To be clear about the information being sought and why;
  2. To test, cross-refer and challenge facts and perceptions (whether the assessing social worker’s own perceptions or the applicant’s);
  3. To distinguish facts from opinions, establishing facts to support a particular view and expressing opinions where relevant;
  4. To determine a recommendation based on the findings of the assessment.

The recommendations contained in the completed Form F must be supported by evidence contained in the body of the report.

There should also be a photograph of the applicant, the full personal references and notes of the interviews with the referees, any medical reports and the results of the checks.

Applicants should be clearly informed about what is required of them, and why it is necessary for the assessing social worker to ask searching and difficult questions. If issues arise it is important that these are raised with the applicants and they are advised as to how they can address these concerns.