Some of you may recall that last October, we started our journey to become registered foster parents. Since then we have been trough various training programs, interviews and have had quite a few visits from a social worker working on behalf of the fostering agency. During this period we have been preparing and training how to look after foster children and understanding the many possible backgrounds why a child would come into our care. We have been making sure that we are prepared for what is to come and to ensure that fostering is indeed for us. Likewise, the agency needs to know that we will make suitable foster parents. The social worker we’ve had visit has compiled a comprehensive portfolio of our lives, home, children, family, friends and our background, which will be presented to a board of independent selectors. So after months of hard work, we finally have a date: Wednesday, 26th July 2006 So what exactly have we been up to? Last December (you may recall) we attended a three day residential training course covering all aspects of fostering, including: What is fostering: Understanding why children are in fostering Child care Behaviour management Equal opportunities and diversity Self care The course was very intense and in places quite upsetting. I found it very thought provoking and in particular, the Self Care. Our children had there own one day course so they could have had a similar overview and understanding of what to expect etc. The course was run by the agency and this gave them an early assessment of whether we would be suitable to apply for fostering. Apparently, we were ok! So we were granted the right to apply so it was the first step over. The next step was a series of visits from a social worker and this has been ongoing since January. We had an initial visit just as a formal introduction followed by a series of interviews gathering the information needed to build our portfolio. Each of us (including the children) has been interviewed very thoroughly. It really has been gloves off time and as you can imagine, it been quite hard. In fact, at one point I was quite concerned about my daughter who expressed she was worried about being left out. So this delayed things quite a bit until we were happy that she was. We have always told the kids that if they weren’t happy with anything, that they have just as much right to say no at any time. My wife and I where asked a series of questions relating to our background. We were asked questions relating to the way we were brought up and raised. There were questions about how we were disciplined and how we discipline our own children. This went on for months. The children were also interviewed. They were asked questions about how they would feel about some of the children coming in, and how they would deal with them. They were also asked about how we brought them up. The social worker also paid a visit to ALL our family and friends asking them similar questions. So as you can see, it’s all been very intense. However, all this information has now been compiled into a large document called a form “F”. It is this document that will present on the 26th July.