Thursday, 18 October 2007


Ok, now on to the exciting bit!

I finally (after what feels like weeks of waiting!) attended the panel meeting yesterday for discussion of my approval. I was so nervous a whole 2 days before the meeting so u can imagine what I was like on the day. It was held in a beautiful location and the panel members were all very nice, but that really didn't do much to calm my nerves.

I met the chair person when I arrived and waited with my link worker (from the agency, the lady who had carried out all the homestudy meetings) while the panel prepared questions. This took them some time but they finally called us through to the meeting room. After introductions, I was asked a series of questions that had arisen from my Form F (homestudy) report, which took quite a long time to get through and were all very in depth and personal. Not at all like the 'so why do you want to foster question' I was expecting (although this did come up towards the end anyway!)

When they had finished questioning, we were asked to leave the room, and after 5 minutes or so the chair person came out meet with us again. There was a very anxious moment when he walked in the room and I waited and held my breath trying to guess what he was going to say... and then he held out his hand and said congratulations!!! Phew! I couldn't stop grinning!

The panel were impressed (with my nervous babbling?! I don't think so!!), were sure I had a lot to offer and had agreed that I would be suitable to foster one child, or two children if siblings, aged 4 to 7, either long or short term!!! Wow, I still can't believe it! The age range is only fixed for a short time, and will be reviewed after I've had children placed for a while. Now I just can't wait to hear I've been matched with a child/children, and get to start what I've worked so hard to achieve.

Preparation group training

This was all booked for earlier in the month - a three day residential course for both me and my daughter to attend - and I was really looking forward to it but unfortunately it had to be cancelled at the last minute. I've been told it will be rescheduled so I'm now awaiting details of a new date.

Health and safety

Especially for Anita, here's a quick summary of the healthy and safety check that was carried out on my home, and the items that I have had to buy and install...

The checklist consisted of four parts: a health and safety checklist, a questionnaire for dog owners, a farm safety questionnaire and a section to describe any pet, other than dogs, which may pose a threat to children. I only had to worry about the first section as the others don't apply.

The health and safety section looked in detail at the house in general, indoor safety factors, the kitchen, bathrooms, outdoor safety factors, first aid, hazardous activities, insurances, cars, and firearms.

In order to meet all of the requirements, I have done the following:
* booked a first aid training course specific to child care
* purchased a first aid kit
* fitted all electrical sockets with child resistant safety covers
* installed window locks (so that they only open a small amount)
* fitted safety gates at the top and bottom of my stairs and at the kitchen door
* checked smoke detectors work
* had the fire service round to advise on fire escapes
* bought a fire blanket
* bought a fire extinguisher
* bought and installed a carbon monoxide detector
* ensured cleaning products, medicines and alcohol are kept in a locked cupboard

There is a lot more in the checklist that I could mention too, but a lot of it is down to common sense, and different areas probably do things differently anyway. But hopefully this will give some ideas as to what an agency will be looking for :)