What are agencies?
‘An independent Fostering Agency is a voluntary or private organisation that places children with foster parents. All Independent 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 parents who care for children looked after by local authorities.’ OFSTED
Foster Carer Vacancies
We Are Not A Fostering Agency
We are a free Application and Agency Finding Service.
Our website is for people looking to find out about UK foster care and who hopefully want to go on to apply to become foster carers.
Between us, we have over eighty years experience working in fostering and family social work so we know a thing or two about foster parenting and how to find which Agencies offer the best Support and Financial Package.
We know how confusing it can be about how to become a foster parent and about which agency to contact. That’s where we step in.
Why help is important.
Finding the best agencies Near You
All 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 skilful, 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 Agency 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 Parents
About 15% of approved UK foster parents 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 foster parenting, and a lack of trust or respect can end any relationship.
Foster agency Miss-matching
Whatever the problem, the cause is often the miss-match between the carer and agency from the start. It might be that the Agency is not based near you. If you are a foster carer or just interested in the process, read about how to Transfer Fostering Agency.
Importantly, foster parents 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.