You can foster
- If you are married, single, cohabiting, divorced, separated, same gender or heterosexual couples
- Whether you are employed, unemployed, taking a career break or thinking about reducing your working hours around the needs of a child
- If you are from any ethnic, cultural or religious background – we welcome foster carers from all communities
- Whether you have children, have never had children, or simply that your children have grown up and left home.
You must be
- Over 25 years of age
- Have a spare bedroom
- Available to support a child to trust in relationships
- Committed to training, learning and sharing your insights with our family of foster carers.
How the Assessment Process Works
Complete the online enquiry form or contact us on 01 4443444
A member of our team will follow up with you to arrange a suitable time to talk.
One of our team will make contact with you by phone
The telephone call with one of our team will allow you to ask questions to help you understand what is involved in fostering. If you are willing we will ask you for details such as your name, address, family composition, occupation, motivation to foster, any pets, your health, previous convictions etc.. You may not wish to pursue your interest in fostering beyond this stage. However if you do the information you shared will be carefully considered and Foster Care Ireland’s Fostering Team Leader will or will not recommend a home visit to discuss your interest further.
We will meet you in your home and answer all of your questions
The home visit is your opportunity to ask as many questions as you like. We will ask you for further information based on your previous telephone conversation. It is important that you ask about us at Foster Care Ireland to satisfy yourself that you will be supported along your fostering journey. You may not wish to pursue your interest in fostering beyond this stage. The discussions and information gathered during the home visit are shared with FCI’s Fostering Team Leader who will recommend whether or not an application form is to be sent to you to complete.
You complete your application form and give us your consent to enable us to arrange the required checks such as Garda Vetting
You will receive an application form to complete. It will feel like a written repetition of Steps 2 & 3: However, the most important aspect of the application form is that you will consent to us completing background checks and other necessary enquiries such as Garda vetting, child protection and fostering social work teams, contact with other agencies such as education, PHN, CAMHS, GP etc.. We will explain the reason for all of these checks in the early stages of your enquiry.
We allocate a social worker to begin the assessment which will involve completing all necessary checks such as Garda vetting, social work checks, medical reviews, contact with your child’s school and meeting two referees chosen by you. In addition there will be a minimum of eight visits to meet with you and your family. We aim to complete the entire assessment within 16 weeks.
Once we have received your completed application and consent forms a social worker will be assigned to you to begin the assessment.
The first stage is to complete the following checks and enquiries;
- Garda vetting of all members in your household over 16 years of age
- Social work checks in child protection and fostering
- School reports for your children who are in school
- A medical examination by your GP and consent for your medical to be reviewed by our Independent Medical Officer
- Two or more personal referee’s who will meet the social worker allocated to your assessment
- A reference from your previous or current employer if you are or in the past worked with children
- Other enquiries or checks considered necessary to inform the overall assessment
The allocated social worker will meet with you and your family a minimum of eight times. Some interviews will be joint and others will be separate. We cover sensitive topics such as your own family background, your experience of being parented, childhood, adolescence and adulthood. We are interested to learn how you have been shaped to become the individual you are today. We listen and learn about your own experience as a parent and your experience of not being a parent, your previous and current significant relationships. We will ask you about your health, education, lifestyle, experience of diversity and explore your motivation to foster. We also need to meet and learn about the other members of your household.
We aim to complete the assessment within 16 weeks. However, there can be unforeseen delays.
We present all of the information gathered in an assessment report to your local area Foster Care Committee. It is their role and responsibility to review the information and if satisfied approve you to become a foster carer.
You will have the opportunity to read your assessment in its entirety and to comment on whether or not it is an accurate reflection of you and your family. Once the report has been signed off by you and our Fostering Service Team Leader we present it to your local Foster Care Committee who will make the final decision whether or not you are approved to become a foster carer. Foster Care Ireland will be with you every step of the way and support you through the entire process.