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Our steps towards applying for fostering

Application and Assessment

Becoming an approved foster carer for New Routes fostering is an important process, usually taking between six to eight months dependent on complexity of assessment. During this time we will get to know you and your family carry out a number of checks and prepare you for the challenges and rewards of fostering.

We take you through five steps:

Step 1: Contact us

Call 01675 434 000 during office hours and one of our friendly staff will take you through a few simple questions to check that you meet our basic criteria. If you’d prefer to apply online, complete our Registration of Interest form and we will get in touch with you.

Step 2: Home visit

We’ll visit you to learn more about you and your family. We’ll also tell you about the fostering process, the support we give and answer any questions you may have. At the end of a home visit, if everyone is happy to proceed, we will ask you to attend the preparation training. If you decide that fostering is not right for you and your family this is perfectly fine. Equally, we will be open and honest with you and will tell you if we do not think that your circumstances are suited to fostering with us. Once you have completed your training and you wish to continue with the process you will be invited to complete an application from.

Step 3: Assessment

One of our experienced social workers will visit you regularly over the next several months to find out more about your life and experiences. This will help us to build a picture of what you and your family could bring to fostering.

The assessment process is very thorough because it needs to prepare you for the challenges and rewards that fostering brings. We will need to understand your reasons for wanting to foster so that we can establish what sort of children and young people would be best suited to your family.

A number of checks will be undertaken as part of our assessment including;

  • A minimum of three personal references
  • Employment checks
  • School references (if you have children living with you)
  • Disclosure & Barring Service check
  • Medical check
  • Local Authority checks
  • Pet Questionnaire and veterinary checks as required.

Please note: having a criminal record or a health problem does not necessarily mean that you will not be able to foster but it is important that you are honest with us. We need to know about these issues from the beginning so that we can discuss and understand your circumstances.

Step 4: Fostering Panel

At the end of the assessment process, the information and evidence and analysis gathered will be signed by both parties and presented in a report (known as a Form F (2014 –template produced by BAAF/Coram)) to our Fostering Panel.

This is a group of skilled and experienced individuals who have been chosen because of their wealth of knowledge about fostering. We currently have skills and knowledge in education, health, experienced care adults, child protection workers, foster carers and fostering social workers. You and your assessor will be asked to meet the panel and clarify any last questions you or they may have.

If the panel are satisfied that our preparation has been thorough, they will recommend your approval as a foster carer. This approval will be passed to our Agency Decision Maker who will consider the panel’s verdict and ultimately decide whether or not to accept its recommendation. Once a decision is made you will be advised verbally by your assessor followed with a written letter confirming the decision.

Step 5: Training and support

Once you have been approved, you will be inducted by the team leader and you will be closely supported by your Supervising Social Worker.

You will be required to read and sign the foster carer agreement and code of conduct before any placements can be made.

The panel and the agency will expect all foster carers to complete the necessary core training in the first 12 months and the Training, Support and Development Standards for foster carers.

Once approved foster carers will require their first annual review to be taken to panel within 12 months whereby their approval will be considered for continuation. Thereafter, reviews will take place annually.