An Independent Fostering Agency works in partnership with the local authority to offer a dedicated and local fostering service. Local authorities and trusts are responsible for the well-being of all children in public care. Fostering with us (an independent fostering agency/service) means you’ll have access to an extended network of support, regular training and many additional services.
Fostering with an Independent Fostering Agency also ensures that you are given priority and that there is always support when you need it.
There is an interesting article on The Fostering Network’s blog about this; it summarises the key differences between an independent fostering agency or service and the local authority. Independent fostering services generally have a better level of support and resources. For example, an independent fostering service may have more social workers so you are more likely to get a social worker who isn’t working with as many other carers.
Independent services are also a little more flexible in terms of training dates and meetings – and most offer out-of-hours support and a dedicated case worker. This may be the case with local authorities too; it’ll be best to speak to the local authority and a few different leading independent agencies to get more information and answers to the questions or queries you may have. You can also check out their latest OFSTED report by searching here (independent fostering agency and local authority reports are here – they both need to be assessed by OFSTED).
Some of the questions you should ask may include:
- Can I apply to become a foster carer?
- Can I foster if I am single, unemployed or renting my home?
- How long does it take to become a foster carer?
- Can I still work and be a foster carer?
- What kind of checks will you carry out on me and my home?
- How much will I be paid and how is this decided?
- Will I pay tax on my earnings?
- How long will it take for me to have my first placement?
- Can I choose which age group or gender I would prefer to foster?
- How much will I know about the child or young person before they are placed with me?
- Can I choose how long I want a child or young person to stay with me?
- Will I get help if I care for a child who has special needs or a disability?
- Who is responsible for taking the children to school or the doctor?
- What type of children can I foster?
If you are interested in fostering with a leading independent agency, click here to get in touch with us today to find out more.
We regularly hold support groups and training sessions and events. Check out our calendar to see dates and information.