How fostering and adoption work

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How fostering and adoption work

Post by Rum » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:29 pm

Given some of the bigoted and misguided views that have been expressed here today I thought one or two of you might be interested in how the process of approving foster parents and adoptive parents actually works. Both processes are very similar, though adoption approval is more rigorous and thorough. I speak from experience as I took on about 5 adoption applicants and about 8 or 10 foster parent ones. Methods/practice will no doubt have been updated since my day, though the essentials will be the same. I'm describing the UK experience.

Foster partners usually look after kids who still have ties with other family or parents. Adopters become the legal parents of the child when there are no other parents on the scene.

People apply - and foster parents, who are in greater demand are recruited. The majority of them are couples, but you don't have to be. You can be single, in a same sex relationship, married or cohabiting.

There is the inevitable very long and detailed form to complete. The application is allocated as a case to a specialist social worker these days, though generic family workers used to do the work in my time.

We had a thing called an F Form to complete with the applicants. It was more or less a guided interview and it took up to ten visits to complete, though sometimes less. Motivation, aptitude, the state of the relationship (if they were a couple), attitudes to kids, their family background, medical stuff - are all looked into. I think it is a brave couple that goes through the process. It is very intrusive and searching and people open themselves up a lot in the process - or should anyway.

Other extended family members are interviewed too - usually a parent of the applicant. References are also sought and at least one of the reference suppliers are interviewed (may be more now).

At the end of that process, which usually takes several months the social worker presents the application to a fostering/adoption board. I suspect evidence other than that provided by the social worker is also sought these days.

Going to the panel was very tough for social workers in my day. You were asked very searching questions. If you had done your job well you would know the applicants at least as well as a close family member. I became family friends with a couple of foster carer couples following their approval (and after closing the case). The panels either approved or rejected the application and occasionally asked for further info.

The system is rigorous to say the least and is of course like that for the sake of the kids who will eventually be placed with the applicants. It isn't foolproof of course and sometimes unsuitable people (for one reason or another) get through. I once took a fostering application on which was up for approval. The application was pretty damned good. The couple were very active in the community besides much else - including working in youth clubs, where, it turned out a week before I presented the application to panel, the male half had been fiddling with 10 year olds while on camping trips. I felt an idiot of course, but they managed to get that far despite the rigor involved. Thankfully a rare event.

Most foster parents do a fantastic job looking after kids with a lot of crap going on in their lives. Likewise the majority of adopters become perfectly decent and loving parents. Like any other human endeavour things don't always work out of course.

Hope that wasn't too boring. You didn't have to read it!

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Re: How fostering and adoption work

Post by NineBerry » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:37 pm

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Re: How fostering and adoption work

Post by cronus » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:46 pm

Social services is a bloated circus. Kids pushed pillar to post with no continuity care then thrown on the streets at 18, metaphorically 23 nowadays, half to three-quarters ending in prison. Great pay and conditions for social workers though, and minimal risk with all singing from the same choir sheet when a tragedy occurs on their watch. Rum is right. A ideal system in play - if your on the payroll. :coffee:
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