Back to news

Meet the Team: Clare Barnaby, Fostering Assessment Manager

Fostering Assessment Manager, Clare Barnaby, Blue Sky Fostering

Clare is a true professional: calm, friendly and reliable.

She's so charming that it can be easy to forget that she's a powerhouse of knowledge within her field. Talk to Clare about assessments or education, and facts trip seamlessly off her tongue. She is immersed within her role, and truly shines at it.

Read here about the assessment process - and her love of pop music.


Colleague Career Journeys


  • Advice
  • Social
  • Support

Date published

17 June 2024

Clare Barnaby Fostering Assessment Manager

What is your name and role at Blue Sky Fostering?

My name is Clare Barnaby and I’m the Assessment Manager at Blue Sky.

How long have you been working for Blue Sky Fostering now?

I've been working at Blue Sky coming up to four years. I was first in the Education Team as an Education Worker and then took over as Head of Education, before moving into the Assessment Team just over a year and a half ago. Before starting in this role, I always loved assessments. So, when the vacancy came up, I jumped at it!

What did you do prior to working for Blue Sky Fostering?

Before moving to an independent foster agency, I worked for a Local Authority as a Child Protection Social Worker and then Manager for about nine years.

What does the role of Assessment Manager involve?

I oversee the Assessment Team and we undertake all of the Form Fs’, which are the fostering assessments for prospective foster carers. I've got a small team of Administrators who do all the checks and references that need to be done as part of an assessment, and a team of both independent Social Workers and internal Social Workers who complete the Form Fs’.

How long does it take to fill in a Form F?

The process takes about four to six months. On average, it takes just under five months to panel from allocation, once we’ve received the whole application.

Can you explain a little more about what a Form F is?

The Form F is the assessment that is completed, which assesses someone's suitability to be a foster carer. It runs in two stages: stage one is checks and references, such as the DBS check, medical, seeking references, and local authority checks, for example.  And then stage two is the part that the Assessor does, which is sometimes known as the home study. They do around 8 to 10 visits, and during those visits, they will be unpicking everything from the applicant's childhood experiences: their experiences of being parented, and how they might have parented themselves if they've got children. The assessor will know them better than anyone does by the end of it. Once the assessment is complete, the Assessor uses the checks and references to verify the information that they feel they've gathered from the applicants.

The applicant then goes to panel, panel make a recommendation as to whether or not they're approved. And then the Agency Decision Maker [ADM] makes the final decision.

What percentage of people who fill in the Form F have something that they are ashamed of or want to hide?

People are generally really open and honest with us, right from the start of the process - from when they first speak with us on the phone. It always amazes me that people are so open. I would say the majority of people have something in their backgrounds that they find difficult to talk about, whether it's trauma and abuse they’ve been through as a child themselves, relationship breakdowns, family relationships, that sort of thing. Most people have something in their past.

What's your favourite genre of music?

Well having gone to watch Take That last night, I’m going to say pop music!

What do you enjoy about working for Blue Sky Fostering?

I like the fact that it feels like one big family, even though that's a bit cheesy to say! [laughs heartily]. I like that the focus is always on the young people. I think that's the main thing. Everything we do is about the young people.

What is your ideal weekend?

My ideal weekend would be at the beach with my friends and family, camping, surfing, barbecues and sunshine.

What do you wish that everyone on this planet knew about fostering?

It takes a special kind of person to foster. And there are lots of those special people out there.  I think just because you might have had difficulties in your own life, that doesn't mean you can't foster. And I would say some of our greatest carers haven’t had their own children. I think that’s important for people to know.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I’ve done a skydive, which I loved. I’ve done a bungee jump, run a couple of marathons, and flown a plane.

What has been your highlight of working at Blue Sky so far?

I love going to the family fun days when everyone's together. I can meet the foster carers that I’ve seen through assessments and see them there with their young people. That's amazing. I also love it when the foster carers who have gone through panel get their first young person. That's just amazing.

Are you ready to begin fostering?

Speak with a member of our friendly team.

Contact us