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Support, Supervision & Training

New Routes staff want to ensure that all our foster carers get the right support to undertake the fostering task so that, as a team, we can make a real difference to the lives of the children and young people.

Informal support

The support you receive through your own immediate and extended family, your neighbours and your friends is very important. Other forms of informal support may be sought through faith organisations, local clubs or other foster carers living in your area. To foster successfully it is important that you have a strong support network within your community. This will be discussed during the assessment and once approved reviewed at least annually.

Formal support

The main source of support will be the social worker allocated to you from the fostering team, known as your supervising social worker. Your supervising social worker may be the same social worker who completed your fostering assessment. The role of the supervising social worker is to supervise and support you when children or young people are in your care. You will have regular contact with them via telephone and visits to your home. When necessary, they will accompany you to meetings or attend meetings on your behalf.

You will also receive support from the child or young person’s social worker, health visitor and other professionals involved. Often birth parents, grandparents, and other extended family are very supportive and appreciative of you.

Outside normal office hours, there is an out-of-hours service which is staffed by social workers from the team.

Foster Talk

Our approved foster carers are members of an organisation called Foster Talk and the services benefit the whole household, which includes the following;

Visit - www.fostertalk.org.uk for more information.

Allowances

A weekly child’s allowance and the carer's fee is payable and is paid on the first day of every month. This is paid in arrears. The child’s allowance covers the daily cost of caring for a child / young person. The full range of payments will be explained by your supervising social worker. It is important to note that fostering allowances do not affect social security benefit and that you will only receive payment when you have a child placed with you.

Preparation Training (pre-approval) “Skills to Foster”

You will be invited to attend preparation training with the New Routes social work team and approved foster carers in our Coleshill office. Experienced young people in care and birth children may also attend. The Skills to Foster training is produced by the Fostering Network. This training will give you the opportunity to explore whether fostering is right for you and your family and give you the confidence you need to take your first steps in fostering. The preparation course covers a range of topics such as child development, understanding the impact of early childhood experiences, attachment and bonding, understanding and coping with aspects of child abuse, working as a team around the child, working with birth parents and ways of saying goodbye to children. Children (age appropriate) living in the household will also receive training and an opportunity to explore what fostering means for them.

Post approval

Once approved by the Fostering Panel, any identified learning needs will have been highlighted by the Panel. This will form part of your initial support and development plan. Training will be provided to assist you in meeting the specific needs of the child or young person in your care.

Areas covered in this training are:

  • Contact with birth family and the impact of fostering on your family
  • Safer caring guidelines
  • Safe handling and de-escalation
  • E-safety
  • First Aid
  • Recording and information sharing
  • Attachment
  • Safeguarding and child protection (including Child sexual Exploitation)
  • Managing difficult behaviour

In addition to this core training which takes place in the Coleshill office, New Routes fostering offers a wide range of training opportunities for carers both as a training session and online training. For example, Men in foster care, Separation and loss, Permanency, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Anti-bullying, contact with birth family and more.

Foster carers are provided with a range of venues, times and training methods suitable to their individual needs. Details of courses can be obtained through the supervising social worker or New Routes Training Co-ordinator. All foster carer annual reviews will undertake an assessment of the carer’s current learning needs.

Support groups

Many foster carers meet together in small support groups with the assistance of the fostering social work team. This provides much needed opportunity to talk about fostering issues with other carers. Foster carer support groups are often attended by carers who have a wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise which they have accumulated through many years in fostering. These carers can offer valuable support to less experienced foster carers.

Formal and informal feedback from support groups helps to inform further training needs which can be addressed through the support group, one to one sessions, or in more structured training settings.

Coffee mornings also take place at the Coleshill office periodically.

Respite support

Sometimes you may need a break from caring for a child or young person for a while – be it for a couple of hours, a weekend or longer. You can arrange this yourself through your own family or close friends. If required, respite foster care can be arranged. There is an allowance for 14 days paid respite and in some cases 21 days.

Mentoring Scheme

The New Routes team will link experienced carers with newly approved foster carers in order that new foster carers have immediate access to a support network early on and whenever it is needed after that.

Volunteer foster carer support worker

Experienced and approved foster carer(s) are also available for support if needed. Again they will provide a listening ear and support. They are required as with all child care professionals to report any safeguarding or child protections concerns to New Routes Management staff.