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How Do Independent Fostering Agencies Work?

Independent fostering agencies play a crucial role in supporting foster families and ensuring that children in need of care receive the best possible support. In Wales, independent fostering agencies focus on providing comprehensive support to foster carers so that they in turn, can offer the highest level of care to the children they look after.

This blog post will explore how independent fostering agencies operate, their role in supporting foster families, and the benefits they offer to those fostering in Wales.

What are Independent Fostering Agencies?

An independent fostering agency (IFA) is an organisation that recruits, trains, and supports foster carers. Unlike local authority fostering services, IFAs operate independently, though they often work closely with local authorities to match children with foster families. All Independent Fostering Agencies in Wales are regulated by the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) to ensure they meet high standards of care and support.

How Do Independent Fostering Agencies work?

Independent fostering agencies in Wales work by recruiting individuals and families interested in becoming foster carers. Here's a step-by-step look at their operational process:

  1. Recruitment and Assessment: IFAs actively seek out potential foster carers through various channels, including advertising, community events, and online platforms. Once an individual expresses interest, the agency conducts a thorough assessment, which includes background checks, home visits, and interviews to ensure the candidate's suitability for fostering.
  2. Training and Approval: From the moment someone applies to be a foster parent, through to their time as an approved foster parent, independent fostering agencies will provide foster carers with comprehensive training designed to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge for fostering. Such training will cover a myriad of different subjects such as child development, trauma-informed care, and safeguarding.
  3. Matching and Placement: When a local authority is looking for a fostering family for a child, they will contact local independent fostering agencies who, in turn, search their cohort of foster carers to see if they have a suitable match. Whether a fostering family is suitable will be a decision made according to a child's needs and the foster carer's skills and experience.
  4. Ongoing Support and Supervision: IFAs provide continuous support to foster carers through regular supervision, training updates, and access to a wider support network and support groups. This ensures that foster carers are well-prepared to handle the challenges of fostering, are kept up to date with the latest research, and can provide the best care possible.
  5. Support for Foster Children: Independent fostering agencies also offer direct support to foster children, including access to therapeutic services, educational support, and recreational activities. This holistic approach helps foster children thrive in their new environment.

Benefits of fostering with Independent Fostering Agencies

  1. Specialised Support: IFAs can offer tailored support to foster carers, with more direct support from link workers and support workers. This in turn ensures that foster parents receive the training and resources needed to provide high-quality care.
  2. High Standards of Care: Regulated by CIW, independent fostering agencies are required to maintain the highest of standards, ensuring that foster children receive the best possible care. You can read our latest CIW report which described us as "a service which clearly places children’s well-being at the centre of everything [we do]" by following this link.
  3. Flexibility and Choice: IFAs often provide more flexibility in terms of matching children with foster carers, allowing for better placements that meet the specific needs of a child and carer.
  4. Community and Network: Foster carers with IFAs benefit from being part of a supportive community, with access to peer networks and regular social events.


Independent fostering agencies in Wales play a vital role when it comes to fostering, providing essential support to foster carers and the children in their care. With their specialised support, the highest standard of care, and a dedicated community of liked minded individuals independent fostering agencies are an essential element of foster care in Wales.

Become a Foster Parent

If you would like to join our community of foster carers at Family Fostering Partners, we can be contacted through our “Contact Us” page, by using our fostering live chat feature, or by calling us directly on 0330 0948816.

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