Step 1- Enquiry
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.
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.