One man’s fostering journey captured on film

Somerset foster carer Michael, from Wincanton, has shared his Foster Panel experience on film in a bid to show people that it is not as scary as they might think.

The Foster Panel is made up of a group of people who consider whether a person is suitable to be approved to foster. The Panel reviews all the information gathered about a prospective foster carer in an assessment report, completed by a social worker. Panel members will also ask prospective foster carers a few different questions.

Lots of would be foster carers can get worried at the thought of attending the Panel, which is why Michael bravely offered to be filmed on his panel day.

In the film, Donna, Michael’s social worker, explains: “They [the Foster Panel] are just a group of people, some of them work for social services, some of them might be foster carers, social workers.

“There’s nothing they can ask you that you don’t know the answer to, because it’s about you, so don’t be nervous about that.”

When asked by the Panel why he had chosen to put himself forward as a foster carer at this point in his life, Michael says: “I’ve always wanted to do it, it’s always been in my mind to do it but I’ve had smaller places to live. I got offered this nice apartment I have, and I thought, this will afford me my dream to help other children and foster, so that was my reasoning for doing it now, and to hopefully, carry on in the future.”

You can watch Michael’s Panel Day film in full here:

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families at Somerset County Council, said: “I understand why people may be intimidated at the thought of attending the Foster Panel. I hope that Michael’s film helps to show that Foster Panel are a friendly group of people that will ask you a few questions to flesh out the information in their assessment report. I have sat on the Foster Panel in the past and I know the Panel always try to make the prospective foster carer feel as comfortable as possible.”

Somerset County Council is looking for people with space in their lives to foster an older child or teenager. There is also a need for foster carers who can look after siblings, offer long-term permanent placements, short breaks for children with disabilities, and parent-and-child foster placements.

To find out more about fostering visit http://www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk or phone 0800 5879900.