Welcome to Beacon Fostering’s Panel Chair – John Terry

I qualified as a Social Worker in 1988, and since then have worked in a variety of social work roles, including: Probation, Youth Justice, Education Social Work, and Safeguarding and Child Protection. More recently, I have worked in Fostering, being a senior manager in a handful of Independent Fostering Agencies. I am now an independent social worker, and member of several Fostering Panels, including Beacon Fostering, where I am Chair of the Fostering Panel.

The Panel’s role is to make sure that the assessment of prospective foster carers is detailed and rigorous, and that enough information is available for the Agency Decision Maker to make a final decision. Panel members come from a variety of backgrounds, but with one aim: ensuring that Beacon’s foster carers are safe and suitable people to look after children in care. Ultimately, our overriding objective to safeguard and promote the welfare of children placed with you.

You may be anxious about coming to Panel, but there’s no need to be! We will have read all reports in advance of the Panel, and carefully assessed the information before the meeting takes place. Our focus is whether applicants have the necessary skills and knowledge to be approved. This means we need to be sure that there is sufficient information in your assessment to make a recommendation and that all the checks are in place. In my experience, the more you engage in the assessment process, including Skills to Foster, the more detailed your assessment will be and the easier it will be for Panel members make a positive recommendation.

If we do have any questions, or clarifications, these are usually for your assessing social worker. The best assessment reports are those where we don’t need to ask a lot of additional questions. So, be open and honest with the assessor about your family circumstances and your motivation for wanting to foster. Above all, we need to ensure that children placed with you will be safe and flourish in your care. We also need to be assured that your home is a safe place for children.

Please be assured that will not interview you. We are more likely to be interested in how you have found your assessment, what you got from the training, and what you are looking forward to as a foster carer, should you be approved.

Once you are approved, there will be regular reviews of your suitability to foster. The first one is always presented to Panel, and we may see others where there are significant changes or other issues.

In Reviews, I always look for evidence of your practical skills in caring for children, how you work with other professionals, the quality of your records, and your professional development through supervision and training. All these are critical evidence in the Panel making a recommendation about your continuing suitability to foster. Where things have gone well, I always like to give positive feedback – in my experience, most foster carers do a wonderful job in fostering, and it’s good to acknowledge this.

If you would like to find out more about fostering and panel, please visit our Learn About Fostering page and Request a Callback! We can cover any questions you have on fostering.

Beacon Fostering’s panel will be meeting to cover all panel agenda areas and to meet potential foster carers from local areas including Stockport, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool.