Recruiting Foster Carers. A Day in the Life Of...

12th October, 2022

If you apply to be a foster carer, one of your first steps along the recruitment process will be an initial home visit from a member of the Excel team. Here, Fostering Recruitment Advisor Natalie O’Connell explains what her job involves…


I might start my day with a few emails, checking my diary to see what I am doing today. My role is massively varied. While a large part of what I do is out in the field interviewing perspective new foster carers, I am also their point of contact for the first part of their fostering journey, so I like to make myself available for any questions they may have or to support them with their application forms, when they are just starting out I like to make sure they know that support is always available.

Today, I am heading out for an assessment. I am the first face that a potential foster carer will see from Excel, so I make sure it is a friendly one. People are always nervous when I visit their home for the first time, but I do try to reassure them that it is a friendly chat, what I want is to get to know who they are and learn more about their backgrounds. The process can feel intrusive; however, it is very much a two way street, during those initial visits I also impart a lot of information to them and the more questions that they ask me the more the better!

"While I am assessing if they are right for Excel, my aim is to also empower them with knowledge to ensure that fostering is right for them."

As well as understanding them and their background, ultimately, I want to discover the why, what their motivation is for fostering. After all our goal is to find the best and most stable home possible for the children we care for.


Back to the office and I am heading out to support with a recruitment event. Attracting new foster carers to the Excel team is another vital part of my role.

"We need more foster carers than ever, so I want to do my part."

Today is a great event as a Beach Sports Day at Lytham St Annes, I love getting out and speaking to people about who we are and what we do. These events are all about spreading awareness about fostering, many people have preconceptions about what potential barriers may be. Like if they already have children in the home and what impact that can have on them, however, in my experience the experience of taking in a foster child has huge benefits for foster carers own children and makes them more empathetic and often I have seen children of fostering families go into caring professions.

This event has been great today, there were a lot of families present and we got the chance to speak to a lot of people. I am happy with how it went, some people wanted to give their details to go forward with the process, and for others it gave them great food for thought for the future – and that is also great in my opinion. While fostering may not be right for someone right now, it could be in a few years. One lady I spoke to today didn’t know what she was going to do in a year when her son moved away to university, I told her to keep us in mind when that time came – she might enjoy having a teenager in the house again.


Back to the office and time to write up my report from this morning as to whether I will refer my assessment to the next stage. There are a lot of things to consider when putting forward a potential foster carer, not just in terms about their background but also their home set up. Having a spare room is an essential requirement in order to foster, but that spare room has to be suitable at the same time.

For example, this morning, the fostering family were lovely. However, I had my concerns about the suitability of the room. The couples own child whose bedroom was on the second floor, with their spare room while the parents bedroom was on the third floor in an attic conversion. The spare room in itself is perfect. However, we also have a duty of care to the children already in the home of a family as well.

"My main concern at all times has to be the safeguarding of children, whether it is the fostering families or Excel’s, they come first and foremost."

We had a good chat about this situation and the family were happy to consider moving their child into the attic room and having their bedroom on the second floor where their spare room is. I am going to leave it with them for a few days so they can have a good discussion with their child. Fostering is a family affair, so I need their child to be on board with that decision.


Back out for another assessment. I like to be as flexible as possible to fit in with people’s schedules. During COVID we did a lot of virtual meetings, but there is nothing like meeting someone face to face.

We are happy to receive enquires from single applicants, but if you are in a couple, even if one person would be the main carer then both people would have to be present for the assessment.

When people apply to be a foster carer then can get very nervous about the deep delve into their history, thinking that any adverse experience will prevent them from being able to foster. However, despite what people perceive this experience can be really valuable to how your approach fostering.

"People who have had very sheltered upbringings may not be as sensitive to the experiences of a looked after child. I find that those who have experienced hardships have so much to bring to the table, what is important is that they have a strong, stable homelife now to share with a child."


Why not give our friendly team a call on 01253 712734 to learn more about next steps in being a foster carer.

Thinking of fostering?

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.

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