What are fostering agencies?
‘An independent fostering agency is a voluntary or private organisation that places children with foster carers. All independent fostering agencies must register with Ofsted before they can operate.’
‘The key functions of an independent fostering agency are to recruit, assess, approve, train, supervise, support and review foster carers who care for children looked after by local authorities.’ OFSTED
Simply Fostering – We know a lot about agencies
Between us, we have over eighty years experience working in fostering and family social work so we know a thing or two about fostering and how to find which agencies offer the best support package and allowances.
We know how confusing it can be about how to become a foster carer and about which agency to contact. That’s where we step in.
We’ve helped people all over the UK to get the best possible start to their fostering career by firstly helping them to decide if fostering is right for them and then by helping to find a fostering agency that best suited them and their family.
Why help is important – Finding the best fostering agencies
All fostering agencies will say their support is brilliant. But in reality what does this mean? Support is about being given knowledge and 24 hour support to provide skillful, confident and valued care, so that people enjoy looking after children, and can get through some difficult times.
Agency support is about being in touch on a regular basis, both by phone, email, with home visits to supervise and discuss any concerns any family members might have, and to make sure extra support is always available if necessary.
Agency support should also include Support Groups to facilitate ‘get togethers’ to share experiences and offer mutual support. It’s important to know how frequent they are, how they’re organised and what the groups discuss. Properly organised and run, these groups can be an invaluable resource.
If not they quickly become poorly attended and a waste of time – another reason to contact the right agency.
There is an expectation to work closely with your approving agency to provide a safe, nurturing family environment along with the requirement to help children to stay in touch with their birth family if that’s in their Care Plan.
To meet these requirements properly, you will need to feel valued and listened to in a positive, confident, trusting and professional relationship with your agency.
The problem for new foster carers
About 15% of approved UK foster carers give up completely or transfer to another agency every year.
Some carers retire, but a significant number stop fostering because the working relationship with their agency (or council), breaks down.
A problem can build up between the carer and agency staff which might be caused by a one off incident or problems can build up overtime which can result in a breakdown of communication which cannot be resolved.
The most common complaint which cause foster carers to leave their agency or stop fostering is a lack of placements and/or the type of placements which the agency assured the carer would be available, which created financial difficulties and/or a growing despondency for the carer and their family.
After all, quality relationships are at the heart of quality fostering, and a lack of trust or respect can end any relationship.
Fostering agency matching
Whatever the problem, the cause is often the miss-match between the carer and agency from the start.
Changing fostering agency
Importantly, foster carers can only foster for the agency who assessed them in the first place and who therefore holds their approval, however if the problems can’t be sorted out, foster carers can change their agency but this means going through the transfer agency process which includes being reassessed by the new agency.
Simply Fostering Agencies
We help you to find the most suitable agency with vacancies on our agency database which best matches the information you send us. We look at each relevant agency’s individual support package which includes their;
- How near the agency office is to you
- Type of placements available
- Availability and quality of training
- Out of hours support
- Foster carer respite
- Level of fostering allowances and fees
- Quality and availability of foster carer support groups;
all important factors that need to be matched as fully as possible with you and your family.
Want to foster? – Use our free agency matching service to;
- reduce the confusion;
- find the best fostering agency;
- make the right choice;
- make a successful application to become a foster carer;
- … and have a successful fostering career!
There are an average of fifteen agencies looking for new applicants in your area so which one do you choose?
Our help is completely free and confidential so start the ball rolling and contact us today.
Foster Care Handbook
As a thank you and to encourage you to take the next step, when you complete our enquiry form, you will be eligible to download our free Foster Care Handbook, a comprehensive guide to fostering.