After you’ve made the decision to become a foster carer, an important step in the process is the first home visit. 

It’s natural for potential foster carers to feel a little nervous ahead of the first visit but there’s no need to worry. This is an essential part of our fostering approval process to allow us to find out more about you as well as for you to have the opportunity to get to know us. 

Whether you’ve already decided to become a foster carer or are simply thinking about applying, you may be wondering what happens during the visit and how best to prepare. At Orchard Fostering we’re dedicated to providing comprehensive support for foster carers and information to make the process as seamless as possible. In this article you’ll find out exactly what the home visit entails to put your mind at ease ahead of the appointment.

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We are available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.

What is an Initial Home Visit?

After applying to become a foster carer, one of the first steps is an initial phone assessment with one of our social workers to answer some standard questions about your circumstances and why you want to become a foster parent. 

If after the initial screening call it is determined that you have good suitability to foster, a home visit will be arranged with a social worker to get to know you a bit better. This is simply a chance for your social worker to meet you in person, see your house and continue the conversation about your fostering journey. It’s also a great opportunity for you to learn more about foster care in general and the next steps involved in becoming an approved foster parent.

Sometimes hopeful foster parents feel nervous about the initial home visit but it’s good to keep in mind that this will take the form of an informal chat. One of the main objectives of the home visit is to make sure you can provide a safe and welcoming space for a child to enter and knowing what is expected will help to put your mind at ease ahead of the visit. If you haven’t already done so, take some time to find out how to prepare your home (and garden) for fostering

The Step-by-Step Process

Who attends?

The home visit will be arranged by an assessment social worker. They will be your point of contact throughout your assessment period and the person you’ll be working closest with. During the visit, all adults in the house are required to be present. If you are in a relationship, it’s important that your partner is present for the full interview too.

Children in the household are also welcome to join the conversation if they wish to, but it’s not essential at the initial stage.

What will be discussed?

Your social worker will already have the basic information you provided during your first phone conversation with Orchard Fostering. The home visit is a chance to chat further about some of these areas. 

At Orchard Fostering we offer a range of supports and training to make the process go as smoothly as possible. This will be discussed with you and you’ll have the opportunity to gain extra information on how we’ll be there to assist you on every step of your fostering journey. 

Becoming a foster carer means providing children from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances with a safe space. We’ll take some time to discuss the needs foster children may have and how they might differ from the needs of children who aren’t in foster care.

The home visit is just one step along the path to becoming a foster carer, so the social worker will also be sure to give you detailed information on the next steps as well as the timelines expected in the assessment process. Sometimes, the social worker may need further information from you, which can be gathered in another visit or over the phone. If it is decided that you are not suitable to foster at this time, the social worker will outline clearly the reasons why.

What kind of questions will be asked?

During this initial visit, you’ll be asked questions in order to gain further information about your suitability to foster. These may include your current family situation, your lifestyle, any past childcare experience you may have as well as your employment situation. If you have a partner, they’ll be asked similar questions. Most importantly, we’ll discuss why you decided you wanted to become a foster parent. Everything that’s asked is to determine whether you would make a suitable foster parent and is designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of foster children. 

What are the next steps?

If it is decided that you and your family have the required suitability, experience and skills to become foster carers, you’ll meet an assessment social worker a number of times to complete the assessment. This is to make sure we have adequate time to assess each applicant properly and that you have time to gather all the information you need to be fully prepared before embarking on this journey. Your social worker will contact you after the home visit to arrange next steps and inform you about what checks need to be done for fostering

That’s why there’s no need to be overly worried about the initial visit. It’s simply one part of the larger process! 

If you’re interested in foster care, please reach out to Orchard Fostering today. We are available on the phone or via email – you can also fill out a form directly on our contact page.