ID and Other Checks for fostering application

A number of checks are carried out during the assessment process. Some of these checks are to verify the ID of the applicants, some (such as police and local authority checks) are safeguarding checks, and some (such as personal and employment reference checks) are so Sparks Fostering can learn more about the applicant’s personality.

Despite carrying out numerous checks, and extensive interviews, there are occasions when applicants present differently after approval than they did during assessment. Sadly, a small minority of foster carers have been found to be harmful and abusive to the children in their care – details of this are publicly available in ‘serious case reviews’. Because of this, social workers have to maintain ‘respectful uncertainty’ with their foster carers – this means that no matter how well the social worker gets along with the foster carer/s, the social worker has to be continually mindful of asking probing questions and being diligent in gathering information about the foster carers and other members of the household. Social workers are expected to have the skills to build trust with the applicants, meaning that the applicants feel safe to share sensitive information; whilst at the same time the applicants have to trust that the social worker will ask probing questions and carry out appropriate checks, so that the social worker is able to complete their job to a good standard. The priority for foster carers and social workers is the wellbeing and safeguarding of children.