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Questions & Answers

Fostering might be for me, but…

/media/pages/library/portrait_images3.jpgHow old do I need to be to foster?

New Routes fostering requires you to be 21 years and over. There is no upper age limit, although you will need to have the stamina to keep up.

Does it matter if I’m single, married or in a relationship?

No. You can foster if you are single, part of a couple, married or in a civil partnership.

Does it matter if I already have children?

No. Some foster carers have children living at home, and some want to take on fostering once their own children have grown up. You can also foster if you don’t have children of your own.

Can I foster if I am religious?

Yes, we support many children from a variety of different backgrounds and religions. Some foster carers are non-religious, and that is fine too.

Do I need a spare room?

Yes, each child or young person will need their own bedroom for space and privacy.

Does it matter where I live?

Currently, New Routes fostering welcomes enquiries from Birmingham and from those who live within about 30 miles of Birmingham. Bromsgrove, Burton-upon-Trent, Cannock, Coventry, Evesham, Kidderminster, Nuneaton, Redditch, Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon, Tamworth, Warwick, Wolverhampton and Worcester are all within this area.

Training and support groups take place in Coleshill, near Birmingham Airport, and carers are expected to attend regularly.

Can I have pets and foster?

Yes. Any pets in the home will be looked at as part of your assessment. Your New Routes fostering assessing social worker will advise whether a vet report is required. You will need to consider how your pet responds to children and that children and young people may hurt animals.

Can I still foster if I have a police record?

All criminal convictions must be disclosed when you apply. If you have a criminal conviction that relates to an offence against children or any sexual offence then you will not be allowed to foster through New Routes. Minor convictions will be discussed as part of your assessment with a New Routes social worker but should not count against you in your application.

Will you need to visit my home?

Yes. Once an enquiry is made and the basic criteria are met, we will visit you in your home. A New Routes social worker will then discuss your interest further and meet any other family members where applicable (for example, birth children or adults living in the household) to explore fostering in more detail and assess the suitability of your accommodation.

What happens after the initial visit?

If you and the agency agree that you are suitable to foster with New Routes, you and any adult household members will need to attend pre-approval training called "Skills to Foster". This is mandatory and is facilitated by a New Routes social worker and an approved foster carer. Any children living in your home will receive "Sons and Daughters" training.

What happens when I have completed my pre-approval training and how long does it take before I can start fostering?

You will be asked to complete an application and will be allocated an assessor (social worker) who will take you through the process step by step. The assessment is presented to a fostering panel made up of trained members with a wealth of experience including education, health, fostering, legal, child protection and medical knowledge. You are invited to attend the panel along with your assessing social worker. The assessment and approval process should take no more than 6-8 months.

/media/pages/library/portrait_images4.jpgOnce I have been approved as a foster carer, when can I expect to have a child or young person in my home?

New Routes immediately begins a process to match your skills and capabilities with the needs of the children and young people for whom we are currently seeking placements. Your personal profile and form will be shared with local authorities when potential placements are identified.

Once I have been approved as a foster carer, what training will I need to complete?

In the first 12 months, you are expected to attend an induction meeting, attend post-approval training and support groups, and will be supported to complete a portfolio showing your ability to meet the Training, Support and Development (TSD) standards for foster care.

Your ongoing training and personal development is important to us so that you are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to look after vulnerable children and young people.

Are there limits on how many children I can foster, their ages or gender?

Legally you are allowed to foster up to three children or young people. The exception is when sibling groups are placed together or New Routes has sought an exemption from the local authority area in which you live.

Ages and gender are based on your approval category. New Routes' foster carers can be approved for children from 0-18 years. You may be approved to foster boys, girls or both.

How long will the foster placement be?

The length of time depends on the child or young person’s individual circumstances and care plan. Currently we offer respite, short-term and long-term placements for children and young people who are looked after. We also offer parent and baby and brother and sister placements.

We are committed to keeping families together where possible, and some of our young people and sibling groups remain with their foster parents when leaving local authority care, in an arrangement known as ‘staying put.’

Am I paid for fostering?

As a New Routes approved foster carer you will receive a weekly allowance to cover the costs of looking after a child or young person, and a carer’s fee in recognition of your time and skill. Foster carers are treated as self-employed for tax purposes and must register with HMRC to pay class 2 National Insurance contributions.

I work. Can I still foster?

Ideally, you or your partner (if you are part of a couple) needs to be available during the day. New Routes fostering would not normally consider it appropriate for a fostered child to be in full-time day care while you work. If you do work, either full- or part-time, we would require you to demonstrate that you have flexibility with your employer and access to support networks in order to meet the needs of a vulnerable, looked-after child or young person. 

For more information, contact New Routes Fostering on 01675 434 025 or

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