Foster care is the system of placing young people, children, and teenagers under temporary or long term guardianship with approved and certified couples or individuals.
After applying to become part of the Olive Branch Fostering family, those who are deemed safe and responsible, and who are approved by the local authority or independent agency, will join our network of foster carers who can take in a single child or multiple children and siblings.
“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.”
In March 2021, over 57,000 children were living with foster families. While to many this number is sad or even shocking, for those who are part of the fostering system, it demonstrates the power of unconditional, uninhibited love for others.
Fostering may at times feel like a legal and very systematic process, but at its core it gives children and young people a chance to be accepted and loved by someone outside of their family, but who cares deeply about their wellbeing and safety. For many children who find themselves in foster care, it is only when they are placed with a foster parent or family that they can finally feel secure – giving them the freedom to adjust, adapt, and thrive in a new environment away from their toxic home life.
Every child brings their own story, and every case brings its own challenges – but it is only through the love and support of foster carers that these difficulties can change into rewards and opportunities.
The fostering process
Here at Olive Branch Fostering, we pride ourselves in the cohesive community spirit that unites our team with each and every foster carer that joins us on their journey. Operating across the Northeast and Northwest of England, we work every day to match children and young people in care with the foster homes that can best support their individual needs – whether that placement is a single night, a week, a short break, or a long term move.
No matter the length of placement or the situation in which a child finds themselves in care, our job is to maintain consistency and security for every young person we meet, and to support each one of our foster carers so that they can be there for every child that needs them.
The fostering process begins when a child or teenager can no longer live with their birth parents for whatever reason. As the journey to placement is so varied and depends on each individual case, there is no set timeline for any single foster placement – rather, it depends on the child, their needs, and the situation through which they find themselves needing foster care. However your journey begins long before that, moving through our application process and a selection of training modules which will give you the confidence you need to really thrive in your role as a foster parent.
Local authorities and governments across England and the UK oversee the foster care system and will often outsource foster placements to independent providers such as Olive Branch Fostering to allow for an efficient process. As a foster agency, this intervention in the process allows us to create and nurture direct relationships with our community of local foster carers, providing them with the very best support and guidance and a friendly face to call upon when they need help.
What does a foster carer have to do?
As many foster carers discover, when a child first arrives at a foster home or with a new foster family, they can have a tendency to bring all the distrust and fear of their previous situation with them. So many children who end up in foster care have suffered from some form of abuse and so a big part of those early days in your fostering journey is about forging relationships, breaking through barriers, and establishing boundaries between yourself and your foster child.
From there, foster carers can and should expect to take on all manner of roles in these young people’s lives, including nurturing their hobbies, drawing out their hopes and dreams, eradicating their fears, working through their trauma, and encouraging them to open themselves up to new experiences and development.
With every challenge comes its own rewards, and fostering is no different.
What do I need to know about fostering?
There is no set age that children and young people enter the foster care system, nor are there any discriminations which dictate where a child ends up or how long they spend in care. As a foster carer, you will be invited to discover the different types of fostering available to you and go from there with regards to your application – with the fostering categories including the chance to take in children on a short term or long term basis, open your home to siblings, undergo a respite foster placement, or support a child who has previously lived in a children’s home.
No matter which type of fostering is for you, our team at Olive Branch Fostering offer a full breadth of training which will give you the confidence and knowledge you need to open your home. All you need to get started is an open mind, an open door, and an open heart.
To learn more about our foster care system and how you can help children across the North of England, get in touch with us or visit our individual location pages to find out exactly what kind of difference you could make.