What to expect at foster panel

Preparing yourself for your fostering panel meeting

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What is a fostering panel?

Facing your first fostering panel can be daunting. You've completed your training and are ready for the next step, but first you have to face the fostering panel. This stage is often one filled with questions and concerns. But we are here to reassure you and will support you throughout the whole process. This page aims to put your mind at rest and answer any questions you have. The role of Diagrama’s Fostering Panel is to make a recommendation on your suitability to be a foster carer, based on information prepared by the assessing social worker. Our panel is made up of people with a wealth of knowledge and experience who meet regularly to consider information about individuals applying to become foster carers. The Panel includes independent social workers, independent community members, people with personal experience of fostering and adoption, a therapist, and a medical adviser. They all have different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities and faiths.

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What happens at fostering panel?

When the time is right, you’ll be invited to attend the Panel meeting via Zoom - we believe it is important that you meet the people who will be making this important recommendation. We understand that you may feel uncomfortable or put on the spot but we will do our best to reassure and prepare you in advance. You’ll just need to explain why you want to become a foster carer.

Prior to the meeting, Panel members will have read your assessment, and considered areas they would like to discuss with you and your social worker. The questions will be based around you and your own experiences.

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At the fostering panel meeting

On the day of your panel meeting, your social worker will come to your home half an hour or so before you should join the virtual meeting. If you are a single applicant, a relative or friend can also be with you. You may be asked several questions to clarify matters raised in the reports. Panel members understand that you might be nervous and will make every effort to treat you as sensitively as possible.

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What happens after the fostering panel meet?

After the meeting you will be asked to wait in a breakout room while panel members consider their recommendation. The panel chair will then join you to tell you and your social worker in private what this is.

Once the Panel has made a recommendation, this goes to the Agency Decision Maker, who has seven days after receiving the minutes of the meeting, to make a formal decision about your application (this is called a Qualifying Determination). You will be informed verbally and in writing of the decision.

Your social worker has experience and understanding of the Panel process and they will talk everything through before the meeting.

If your application is approved, you will then move onto the matching stage.

In the event that your application is not approved you will be notified in writing, with the reasons why. You will then have 28 days in which to decide one of the following:

  • To accept the proposed decision
  • To make representations back to the Panel
  • To apply to the Independent Review Mechanism – Adoption and Fostering (IRM).

Your Diagrama social worker will be there to support you throughout this stage.

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What do people say?

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Book a call with a member of our team

We're ready to help you begin your fostering journey. Book an informal intro call with one of our social workers today. We'll tell you more about Diagrama, help you understand if fostering is right for you and answer any questions you may have about the process.

On this informal and confidential introductory call with our social workers you will get to:

  • Discuss your current circumstances to find out if fostering is right for you.
  • Learn about how Diagrama support foster carers with a generous benefits and support package.
  • Ask us any questions you have about fostering.