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Mumsnet Questions: What should I expect from my first home visit with the social worker?

Explore what to expect from your first home visit with a social worker as answered by Mumsnet. Gain insights and prepare for a positive experience.

February 14 2024 - 4 min read

If you’re thinking of becoming a foster carer, you no doubt have lots of questions about the process and might be feeling a little nervous about your first home visit. Here we’ll take an in-depth look at what to expect during your first foster care home visit and will answer some of the common questions which arise on Mumsnet about fostering.

Why do we need a home visit?

A home visit is an essential part of the fostering application process, which gives every potential foster parent the opportunity to find out more about fostering. During this initial visit a member of our team will visit your home. You’ll learn all about the assessment process, the impact which fostering might have on you and your family, and will be given advice which is tailored to your personal circumstances. The information gathered during your home visit will form part of your ‘Form F’ assessment, which all foster parents take part in before they bring a foster child into their home for the first time. The initial home visit is a great opportunity for Fosterplus to get to know you and your family better, but most importantly it is a chance for you to ask any questions that you may have about fostering and the foster carer assessment process. Your first home visit will usually take between 1-2 hours.  

What happens during the initial home visit?

When a member of the Fosterplus team comes to visit you, they will talk you through the next stages of the assessment process from beginning to end. They will ensure that you are given an honest, candid view of what fostering is like. They will make sure that you understand exactly what will be expected of you as a foster parent and will encourage you to ask as many questions as you need to.

The member of our team will also go over any paperwork that will need to be filled out during the process of becoming a foster carer, and will explain to you how to complete the paperwork which will be required of you when you have a foster child living in your home.

They will also discuss what training you will be expected to complete, what financial support you will be entitled to and all the other ways in which your fostering agency will be by your side to support you. They will also take a look at the spare room which you plan on using for fostering to ensure that it is suitable.

How to prepare for your home visit

It’s natural to feel a bit nervous when inviting a new person into your home, especially when that person is there to conduct an assessment. There’s no need to worry, however. There are a few simple steps you can follow to ensure that you are your family are ready for your fist home visit.

Prepare your home

It is important that foster parents are able to provide a safe, clean, and nurturing home environment for the young people in their care. Make sure that your home is clean and tidy for the visit. Keep in mind that the visitor will want to take a look at your spare bedroom to make sure that it is suitable.

Talk to your loved ones

When the member of our team visits, they will want to speak with everyone who lives in your home. If you have children living in the home, you may decide to explain to them who will be visiting and why to help set them at ease.

If you are fostering with a partner, it’s a good idea to talk over what questions you would like to ask the staff member when they visit and ensure that you are on the same page. You may also wish to keep a pen and paper close by so that you can jot down any useful information during the session.

Getting to know you

Checks on foster parents are understandably very thorough to ensure the safety of young people. The member of our team who visits you may ask personal questions which surprise you and will want to know plenty about your background and your motivations for fostering. They may ask questions about your romantic relationships, your family history, and any other areas of your life with the potential to impact the children you may foster.

The member of our team will endeavour to be delicate during your conversations and any information shared will be handled sensitively. Further on in the fostering process, you and those close to you over the age of eighteen will be required to have a DBS background check.

It is important to communicate honestly and openly with the visitor during the home visit. Feel free to ask anything that’s on your mind and remember that there are no silly questions; fostering is a huge and nuanced process, and no one is expected to know everything in the beginning! The members of the Fosterplus team will be there to support you throughout the session and will work with you to overcome any hurdles you may encounter together.

If anything makes you feel concerned or uncomfortable during the visit, don’t be afraid to speak up. If you’re nervous about the visit or have any more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support.

Download our Guide to Fostering

Discover everything you need to know about fostering by downloading our brochure.

What’s next?

After your initial home visit, Fosterplus will be in touch to let you know whether or not your application to begin fostering with us has been successful. There is no pressure to continue with the fostering assessment if you no longer feel that fostering would be a good fit for you and your family.

If you are accepted as a foster carer, congratulations! Your admirable decision will make a huge difference in improving the lives of vulnerable young people. You’ll then meet your social workers and begin your preparation for fostering training, which prepares you to welcome your first foster child into your home.

There’s plenty more training available through Fosterplus. This includes core mandatory modules on topics like first aid and health and safety. We also offer advanced training which covers topics such as online safety and mental health awareness, so that you can feel fully prepared no matter what challenges may arise during your journey into fostering. Here at Fosterplus, we also offer lots of extra support such as online resources for children and adults, in-person support groups and fun events and activities which you and your foster children can enjoy together.

Once your foundational training is completed, Fosterplus will begin a careful matching process to identify children who may be a good fit to come and live with you and your family. Your social workers will discuss potential matches with you, and in most cases you will be able to meet with the child face to face before living together. Usually, it takes between 4-6 months to be approved as a foster carer.

How often do social workers visit foster homes?

Once you find the perfect match, you will receive plenty of support from your social worker in the early stages of your time together. Once your foster child is settled in, your social worker will visit you and your family on a regular basis for a cup of tea and catch-up. This is a great opportunity for you and your foster child to share how things are going and talk over anything you may be struggling with.

You can also contact the team at Fosterplus whenever you need us. We will be available to support you through every step of your journey as a new fostering family.

What if my application to foster is not accepted?

If you are unsuccessful in your application, try not to feel disheartened. We will always make sure to clearly explain the reason why we have not been able to move forward with your application to become a foster parent at this time. It could just be that the time isn’t quite right at the moment. These reasons will always be discussed with you in detail, and you will have the opportunity to ask any further questions. If you feel that you have been unfairly assessed, you have the right to appeal the decision by applying for your application to be independently reviewed.

Do you have more questions about becoming a foster carer? Click here to learn more about the fostering process and whether fostering might be the right fit for you and your family. To register your interest in becoming a foster parent, fill in our simple application form and a member of our team will get in touch with you to discuss things further.

Get in touch

Download our Guide to Fostering

Discover everything you need to know about fostering by downloading our brochure.

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