what is a fostering panel and how does it relate to being a foster carer?

The application process for being a foster carer is naturally rigorous and as lengthy as necessary to paint a full picture of the applicants. This ensures the safety and wellbeing of the children who would be placed in their care and also protects the carers from undertaking a role they are not suited to or adequately prepared for.

If you're interested in fostering, you may have heard that part of your approval process will be to attend a fostering panel and you may be wondering what on earth this involves. This blog post aims to explain all but if you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to call 01903 522966 and ask to speak to our fostering manager.

what is a fostering panel?

A panel is made up of independent professionals who all have a relevant background in areas such as social work, health, education, foster care, legal, and/or are care experienced themselves. It is led by a chair and every panel member goes through a recruitment procedure including an interview and vetting checks.

Their role is to make recommendations to the agency decision maker regarding the approval of carers and applicants based on written reports and other evidence shared with them.

As independent members, they can give an impartial view that is concerned with, most importantly, the interests of the children in placement, then both the interests of the agency and the carers/applicants.

when would I need to go to panel as a foster carer?

Attending panel will be part of your career as a foster carer and after attending a couple of times you will realise that it's not as intimidating as it sounds. Of course, the first time you go will be nerve-wracking as it will be to review your application to foster and make a recommendation as to whether you should be approved or not.

Following your approval, you will go to panel annually for your annual review where they will recommend your continued approval, perhaps with recommendations for specific training or development work to be done, or in some cases, they will recommend your approval is withdrawn if they have concerns about the care you have offered. This should never take carers completely by surprise as panel will be notified of issues or incidents that the agency will have already raised and begun to address.