Today I received an email:
“Please read the enclosed information carefully, then click on the below links to obtain the following forms:
- Working with Children Check – Applicant Declaration and Consent
- Relevant documents as outlined in the Working with Children Check identification requirements (for each applicant and household member over 18 years of age )
- Health Checklist
- Medical Forms (for each applicant)
- Guidelines on writing your autobiography or life history.
Assessment of your application cannot be progressed without this information which you can provide to us in electronic version by return email, by fax to 02 9765 5101, or by mail to the Carerlink Support Team, Locked Bag 7466 Liverpool 1871.
When we receive your forms, personal history checks will be conducted and you will be contacted by a local Community Services caseworker.
Note: your life history is only required if your personal history checks are successful.
We appreciate your application to become a foster carer and look forward to hearing from you.
Should you have any questions at this time, please do not hesitate to contact …”
I think it’s a somewhat oddly worded email and I do love that these is a vague sense of accusation that this information hasn’t been provided earlier “Assessment of your application cannot be progressed without this information” despite the fact that this is the first time this info has been asked for… Oh well, I’m not in this to critique the Department’s email writing ability and they do remember to add at the end that they appreciate my application :). I wonder if this is the Information Pack the lady on the phone was referring to?
I’ll try and post over the next little while what each of the forms involves and how easy or hard they are to complete.
So it has begun 🙂
Eight days ago I submitted my application to be a foster carer. A fairly easy process, and form filled out on-line, the names of a few referees and the details of my doctor. If anything, the hardest question was “Why do you want to become a foster carer?” There are so many reasons that I found it surprisingly hard to break it down into a couple of sentences. How do you describe a conviction that this is something you have a responsibility to do? I ended up writing that I knew there was a need for stable foster care homes, that I believed I would be able to provided that and therefore I was convicted that I should. It felt kind of empty compared to the conviction I feel in my heart, but it was what it was.
When I submitted the application I was informed that I would be contacted by phone within two weeks. I admit that I felt somewhat dubious that this would happen, as I am applying through my state government agency (there is no other choice for me, as there are no NGO’s doing out of home care in my part of the world) and have heard the usual stories of lost applications, no contact for months on end, etc, etc. However today, eight days later I received a phone call from Sydney asking for ten minutes of my time to do a telephone application check.
This time the questions were slightly more detailed: What kind of property did I live in? How many people? Any pets? Are they indoors or outdoors? Busy road? Fenced property? How many bedrooms? Rented or owned? Backyard? Large or small? Doing any renovations? Have any children? Doing IVF or looking to adopt at the moment? What kind of foster care are you considering? What ages? What sex? Consider siblings? Consider disabilities? Consider other cultural backgrounds? There were others I”m sure, but that’s all I can remember. The lady I spoke to was nice, not chatty, but polite and respectful, and all the questions were things that I had thought through already.
The next step from here is that my application will be processed and my background checks done, which should take a week or so, then they will send me a foster carer pack in the mail with more paperwork to fill out. I’ll then apparently be handed over to my local team who will then organise a home visit. My expectation is that the entire process will take between four to eight months to complete (going on what others have told me), but it is exciting that the journey has begun.