Step 1 – Register Interest
First, you will need to register your interest to become a foster carer with us. You can do this by filling in the form on our ‘Contact Us’ page. Or pick up the phone and give us a call. Either way, we will be more than happy to hear from you.
Step 2 – Home Visit
We will then come out to visit you at your home to have a conversation about fostering and answer any questions you may have. We will then leave you with an application form and some information about fostering. You can then fill in the application form and send this back to us in your own time.
Step 3 – Assessment
You will be assigned a qualified social worker to carry out your assessment. This assessment is called a Form F and is quite detailed.
Your Olive Branch Social Worker will then produce a report which will cover the following:
- Family background and childhood
- Adult life (including employment and previous relationships)
- Personality and current relationship
- Household members (including children) and lifestyle
- Other children (and adults) and social support network
- Fostering capacity (which includes providing warmth, empathy, encouragement, structure, boundaries, durability, resilience and commitment)
- Understanding identity and diversity
Part of the assessment requires us to carry out statutory checks which include:
- Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on applicants and adult household members
- Identity checks
- 3 referees who will be visited by our social worker
- Employment reference
- Medical assessment report
- Ex-partner reference (if applicable)
- Health and safety assessment
The social worker will visit you 6 to 8 times in total.
It is a joint report and everyone is encouraged to help with gathering the evidence for the assessment. The entire assessment process usually takes around 4 to 6 months. You will also attend a 3 day ‘Skills to Foster’ training course which will give you the information and the skills needed to be a foster carer. Once all the evidence has been gathered, the social worker will compile a report ready to be presented to the panel. Before the final report is presented to the panel, your social worker will go through the report with you and make any necessary amendments.
Step 4 – Panel
The panel is made up of independent members and experts from different professions who jointly decide whether a person is fit to be a foster parent.
You and your social worker are required to attend the Panel Meeting where you are interviewed in line with the Form F report.
Step 5 – Approval
You’re now a approved Foster Carer!
You will receive written approval from Olive Branch and will be assigned a supervising social worker, who will support you, your family and the foster child.
In accordance with the Fostering Regulations 2013, all Foster Carers are required to sign and agree to a Foster Carer Agreement prior to receiving any placements.This agreement is a contractual agreement between the foster carer and Olive Branch Fostering. It includes the following; terms of approval, carer reviews, care planning, financial issues, support and training issues, changes in circumstances, behavioural issues, allowance issues, notice period. Following each annual review, the agreement will be updated.