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How to find the best fostering agency

We know that the decision to foster is a huge one; from the initial stages of talking to your friends and family to approaching an agency or the local authority, you will have already been on quite the journey in trying to decide which fostering agency is best suited to you!  You may have been discussing with you friends and family about how to find the best fostering agency, who your top 10 fostering agencies are, or how to find the best fostering agencies in Wales. By making the decision to become a foster parent, you are immediately part of a very special group of people willing to open your heart and your home to children that need it. Regardless of who you choose to foster with, we would like to say a huge thank you for your willingness to make a difference.

Trying to decide which is the best fostering agency to foster with can be overwhelming; there are lots of options, with each agency offering different things. We hope that this blog will help to answer some of your questions about fostering with Family Fostering Partners, whilst also giving you some things to think about when considering the choices of fostering agencies. We will give you our top tips on how to find the best fostering agencies in Wales, but more importantly, the best fostering agency for you. It’s an important decision, and one not to take lightly…

Where do I start?

We find that the very best place to start when considering which fostering agency would be best suited to you, is to speak to friends and family; do they foster? Do they have any recommendations? Have they heard of any good fostering agencies? Always approach the people you trust first- they will be able to give you an honest and unbiased opinion! It might be worth discussing with them which agency is the best fostering agency in their opinion and who, in their view, are the top 5, or top 10 fostering agencies in Wales that you should approach!

Do your research:

A good place to start is the internet! A quick ‘fostering agencies near me’, ‘top 10 fostering agencies’ or ‘how to find best fostering agencies in Wales' search will bring up a plethora of options but remember not to choose from just the website alone! Head to their social media pages, look for reviews and testimonials, do they feel like the right fit for you? Do they hold the same values as you? Take your time, there is no rush!

Remember to always read the agencies CIW reports; these give a great indication and a professional unbiased view about what you can expect from the agency. These reports will truly give a reflection of who the best fostering agency’s are from a professional standpoint!

Sadly, CIW do not compile a list of the ‘top 10 fostering agencies’, but if you do your own research, you’ll be able to make your own decision about which is the best fostering agency for you. So, how do you go about finding the best fostering agencies in Wales? Research, research and more research!

Who are the top 10 fostering agencies, and how do I decide who to choose?

This is a big question with no easy answer! We would advise writing down the things that are important to you, and what you hope to gain from this working fostering relationship. Write down your top 10 fostering agencies, and work through the list. It is important to find an agency that matches your own values and ethos- click here to find out more about ours!

Have a look at the agency’s websites, blogs, videos and social media pages to see if you think they would be a good fit. Remember, you can have an initial call or conversation with as many or as few agencies as you like, but these are some essential things we think you should look out for in these early stages, and some of the things that are important to Family Fostering Partners…

The Best Fostering Agency for Support

It is important to consider what support the fostering agency can provide to you as an individual, to your family, and to the looked after children in your care. Fostering is a journey with lots of highs, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few bumps in the road too. Ask the question; ‘who will support me?’ ‘How accessible is the support on offer?’ ‘Will the support be consistently given by the same person?’

At Family Fostering Partners, each of our foster parents have a dedicated Link Worker that is there to provide support to them, the children in their care, and their wider family. Our fantastic link workers are only a text or phone call away. ‘Nobody is inaccessible’ explains Katie, a foster parent with Family Fostering Partners, when asked what she liked about working with our agency. You can hear more from Katie here. 

In addition to our day to day support, we also hold regular support groups for our foster parents to meet up and chat over a coffee. These are led by our link workers and our fostering managers. In addition, we have private Facebook page for our foster parents to swap ideas, share news, videos and photos.

For issues that arise outside of the normal working hours or on weekends, we also offer a 24hr on call service for advice and support when you need it. All of our foster parents also have a membership to ‘Foster Talk’, an independent organisation that offers counselling, advice and more.

The Best Fostering Agency for Training

When thinking about what makes a fostering agency the best in Wales, or the best in the UK, it’s important to look at the training they provide. Ongoing training should be offered regularly and is crucial to success as a foster parent; training is the foundation of all the best fostering agencies, and no agency should make the list of top 10 fostering agencies without this in place!

As the children in our care grow or rules and regulations change, it is important that foster parents are updated, or their skills refreshed. Alongside compulsory training, we deliver tailor made training to meet the needs of our fostering families. Our training covers topics such as Internet Safety Training, Attachment Training, Gro Brain, Placement Endings, The Teenage Brain, Valuing Diversity and more.

Being part of a fostering community: it's the people that make a fostering agency ‘the best’!

When considering which fostering agency to apply to, it’s important to consider the community of people you will be undertaking this fostering journey with. The saying goes, ‘it takes a village!’ Would you prefer to be part of a nationwide agency, or a smaller family run agency? To find best fostering agency in Wales - consider the size of the agency you want to foster with! This will help to rule out agencies that would not be a fit for you.

Family Fostering Partners host regular days out for the fostering families in our remit, these days are a great opportunity for people to get to know each other and expand their community and friendships within the agency.  Our foster parents also use closed Facebook groups where stories, ideas and pictures are posted regularly, and unitedly we celebrate each other's successes. Check out our Wales  open Facebook page.

The Best Fostering Agency for Communication;

When trying to find the best fostering agency in Wales, receiving good communication from the point of your initial enquiry is absolutely crucial. Open, honest dialogue throughout your fostering journey lends to successful working relationships, with both parties working for the best possible outcomes of the children in our care. Therefore, it is important to choose an agency that responds quickly to your questions and queries, and when considering how to find the best fostering agencies in Wales, quick open and honest communication is an essential in our eyes!

At Family Fostering Partners, we pride ourselves on always being contactable. Whether it’s 4am or 4pm, someone will always be there to answer the phone and offer you advice and guidance. Our link workers visit regularly, and share their contact numbers with your family, so should they have any questions, they can also contact them directly.

During the process of being assessed, we always maintain an open and honest dialogue. We promise to be clear with you about our expectations whilst holding your hand throughout the process.

In the early stages of deciding who to foster with, you might have a few questions. You can send us a direct message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We are also contactable via email or through our website- somebody will respond to you on the same day. At Family Fostering Partners, we never shy away from the difficult or awkward questions – please don’t be afraid to ask!

Sometimes there is no exact science! Go with your gut

Our final and most important tip on how to find best fostering agencies in Wales!

Our foster parent Jane explains how to find best fostering agencies in Wales - ‘we had researched FFP before we went with them, and all of the reviews looked really good. It just felt right when we met up with the people there.’

Sometimes, you will just ‘get that feeling’ and know if an agency is a good fit for you and your family. Don’t ignore that feeling! For Jane, she did not need to research the top 10 fostering agencies - she just had that gut feeling!

We hope this blog has helped in some way with giving you points to consider when embarking on your fostering journey and how to find best fostering agencies in Wales! If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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