Becoming a Foster Carer

Becoming a Foster Carer

At Olive Branch, we believe that becoming a foster carer is one of the most rewarding things you can do. As an Olive Branch foster carer, you will provide life-changing care and a loving home for a child in need.

We understand that becoming a foster carer can be daunting, that is why we provide you with all the training you will need so that you are fully prepared to help your foster child. We also provide 24/7 support during your time as a foster carer, so you will always have everything you need to help change a child’s life.

What is a foster carer?

Foster carers, or foster parents, are someone who provides a safe and nurturing environment for a foster child. Being a foster carer is a full-time position and will require the foster carer to invest time and energy into their foster child.

Foster carers will need to be patient and passionate about caring for a child or young person in need and will need to make the wellbeing of their foster child their priority.

We will discuss your foster carer opportunity with you when you register your interest, to make sure that both you and your potential foster child will receive the best results from the process.

Can I become a foster carer?

Many people want to become foster carers, but mistakingly believe they wouldn’t be accepted. There are many misconceptions around what is required to become a foster carer. But actually, any adult can become a foster parent as long as you can give full-time care for your foster child and provide them with their own bedroom.

We care about your ability to provide a loving and caring family environment for a child in need and are less concerned about your age, marital status or your income. When you apply to become a foster parent we will consider things like your ability to provide a caring and nurturing environment, who else lives in your home, your health and lifestyle and your skills, personality and experience parenting or caring for children.

If you are still unsure if you can become a foster carer or not, then take a look at our FAQs or contact us for a chat.

How long does it take to become a foster carer?

Your application to become a foster carer usually takes around 4 to 6 months. This does often depend on how ready you are to move through the different stages of the application, if you have prepared the necessary documents and how promptly you attend the training sessions. We will offer you full support during the application process to help you prepare to become a foster carer.

What is the process to become a foster carer?

Here at Olive Branch, we have done our best to make the application process to become a foster carer as simple and streamlined as possible. If you have decided that you want to help change a child or young person’s life by becoming a foster parent then follow these steps below.

Step 1 – Register Interest

Your first step to becoming a foster carer is to register your interest with us. You can do this in a variety of ways, you can head over to our contact page and fill in the form, or register your interest with the form that is to the left on this page, you can also arrange a free call back with one of our fostering advisors and finally, if you prefer, you can call us on  0170 655 8910. Whichever way you decide to register your interest in becoming a foster carer with us, we will be more than happy to hear from you.[/vc_column_text]

Step 2 – Home Visit

Once you have registered your interest in becoming a foster carer we will organise a home visit with you. We will come to visit you and have a more in-depth conversation about fostering and answer any questions that you might have. We will also give you an application form, along with some information about fostering. You can then go ahead and fill this application form in your own time once you are satisfied with all your questions and send it back to us.

Step 3 – Assessment

After you have returned your completed application form will we begin your assessment and assign you a qualified social worker who will carry out your assessment. This assessment is called a Form F and is quite detailed.

Your Olive Branch social worker will visit you around 6 to 8 times in total, with the aim of producing a report which will cover the following:

  • Your family background and childhood
  • Your employment
  • Previous and current relationships
  • Other household members, such as children and partners
  • Your personality, lifestyle and social support network
  • Your ability to provide warmth, empathy, encouragement, structure, boundaries, durability, resilience and commitment to your potential foster child
  • Understanding identity and diversity

Part of the assessment also 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

This is a joint report and we encourage everyone to help with gathering the evidence for this assessment. 
You will also need to attend a 2-day ‘Skills to Foster’ training course, which will give you all of the information and skills that you will need to be a great foster carer.

Once all the above information and evidence has been gathered, the social worker assigned to you will compile a report 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

Once your assessment is finished a final report is presented to a panel who will decide if you are a good choice to become a foster carer. This 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 will attend the panel meeting and will be interviewed by the panel in line with your application and Form F report.

Step 5 – Approval

You’re now an 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.

Talk to us to find out more

If you have any questions on the process of becoming a foster carer, if you can become a foster care or anything else don’t hesitate to contact us, arrange a free callback or call us on 0170 655 8910. We are happy to answer any questions you might have and help you on your way to becoming an Olive Branch foster carer!

‘Olive Branch went above and beyond in preparing me and my family for fostering.’

- Olive Branch Foster Carer

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