22 September 2023

How to become foster care approved in Manchester – a step-by-step guide

How to become foster care approved in Manchester – a step-by-step guide

Overview: A summary of how to become a foster parent in Manchester, looking at steps for foster care approval. Plus, how long it takes to become a foster parent and details of how approved foster carers can transfer when moving areas or switching agencies.

How to become a foster parent in Manchester

Are you moving to Manchester? Maybe you’re a Manchester native, but fostering is new to you. This mini-guide will walk you through the steps involved in becoming a foster carer in Manchester and surrounding areas with Safehouses. We will answer critical questions such as how long the process takes and the differences between the foster parent transfer and application process. Read on for what to expect, why and when.

Becoming foster care approved in Manchester – what do you need to do?

In the UK, the Fostering Services Regulations guide the application process for every potential foster carer. You must complete the initial screening and two stages of assessments as part of the application process. However, what can differ between fostering services is when and how these stages happen and the help available to support you. With over two decades of experience as an independent foster care agency, we’re proud of our outstanding training programme and the support we can offer the carers who join us. 

Foster carers in England can only be registered with one foster care provider at once. But the steps for applying to become a foster carer are very similar whether you’re an existing carer or new to the profession. 

In our experience, the transfer process can usually be completed more quickly because you’ve successfully been through the process before. We’ve welcomed and supported many foster carer transfers in our time. So, if a change or move is on the cards for you and your family, we’ll do everything we can to help you with your transfer so you know what to expect and the process goes as smoothly as possible for you.

How long does it take to become a foster parent in Manchester? 

Welcoming a child or young person into your family home as a foster carer is a big step. The application process can sometimes seem intrusive and intensive. The process for foster carer approval requires time, commitment and training. You need to feel and be well prepared to offer the safety, stability and security that young people will rely on you to provide. In practical terms, from your initial enquiry through to acceptance, you should expect the process to take months rather than weeks.

At Safehouses, moving from the initial enquiry to the approval panel stage usually takes 4-6 months. Most approvals take around five months. Throughout that time, our team will be on hand to help you prepare for each stage and answer any questions you may have. In line with regulations and feedback from our foster carers, we’ve developed a simple ten-step application process for prospective foster carers.

Your 10 steps to foster approval

  1. Talk to us. When you contact our Carer Recruitment Team by phone, online or in person at an event, they’ll gather some initial information for your application.
  2. Meet with us. After your initial enquiry, a Carer Recruitment Officer will get in touch to arrange for us to visit you to explore your interest in fostering. You will receive a detailed application form and can ask questions too. 
  3. Allocation After submitting your application, you’ll be allocated a qualified social worker who will work on in-depth assessments for your application.
  4. Assessments To review your suitability for foster care and the support network you have in place, you’ll have a two-stage assessment:
    Stage One
    : At this stage, there are mandatory checks from the Disclosure & Barring Service and Social Services. Plus, medical checks and a home safety check.
    Stage Two: We really get to know you and your household for a detailed joint assessment. Your social worker will visit your home and chat with your family a minimum of 7 – 10 times.
  5. Preparation training You will start your training journey with the course ‘Skills to Foster’. The training will help you make an informed choice about whether fostering is right for you.
  6. Panel Your assessment information feeds into a report you can read. A fostering panel will consider the report and make a recommendation about your application. 
  7. Approval We will inform you in writing or verbally about the outcome of the foster panel. 
  8. Matching Our Placements Officers carefully match approved foster carers with children and young people.
  9. Placement When we identify a suitable match, you will learn about the child or young person. You will then decide whether to proceed.
  10. Ongoing support Once you are Safehouses foster carer, you will have access to continuous training to support your development. Your supervising social worker and the local team will also be available for ongoing support.

Becoming foster carer approved in Manchester – foster carer transfers

“We were only actually away from Safehouses for a year. When we left, we felt like we’d been spoilt at Safehouses because we’d had lots of support, lots of chances to meet other foster carers, social workers, it was hard not having that. We found we didn’t have the same information, support or training and decided to go back to Safehouses.” Abi, Returning foster carer

Foster carers have the right to freedom of movement between fostering services as laid out in the Transfer of Foster Carers Protocol. Whether you’re planning a move away from your current area or feel like your current foster care agency or local authority isn’t the right fit, we can help.

The protocol provides a guide for how any transfer process should work, with the needs of foster children central to all considerations. To explore joining the Safehouses community, we ask that you contact us to chat through your plans and circumstances. If you decide joining the Safehouses family is right for you, we’ll support you through the transfer process. We will also work with your current provider to put the wheels in motion for your move.

What are the differences between applying to be a foster carer and transferring as a foster carer?

“Transferring agencies is not like starting all over again. We found it was a quicker process as you have covered the same ground before but may have some additional experience to add. The application process was quite emotional at times when we first applied to be a foster carer as you need to dig into a lot of things. When we transferred to Safehouses a lot of information was already in place, so it didn’t feel so intense.” – Transferring foster carer family.

The foster carer transfer process is very similar to the application process for new foster carers. We usually find transferring foster carers reach the approval stage more quickly. It is possible for foster carers to transfer with young people or children already in placement. There are a few additional steps in these circumstances, including a Transfer Protocol meeting. In the meeting your existing agency, local authority, yourself and one of our team will talk about the needs of the child(ren) in placement. The meeting will focus on how best to maintain stability for them. Our experienced team can guide you through how to prepare, what to expect and ensure that the process remains child-centric.

I’m interested! How do I become a foster parent in Manchester?

Are you ready to join the Safehouses family? You can complete an online enquiry or get in touch with our friendly team for further details and advice about transferring to us or applying to be a foster carer. We’d love to hear from you.