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Independent Fostering Agencies vs Local Authorities – What’s the Difference?

If you’re new to fostering, you may be wondering what the difference is between independent fostering agencies and local authorities. As a new or prospective carer, you have the choice whether to register with your local authority (LA) or with an independent foster care agency (IFA), such as Family Fostering Partners. Foster agencies come in all shapes and sizes so it’s important to consider what would be the right fit for you. If a family focused agency is at the top of your list of ‘musts’, then Family Fostering Partners may be the right fostering agency for you...

Independent Fostering Agencies vs Local Authorities – What’s the Difference?

Local councils are legally responsible for the safeguarding of all children and young people who enter the care system. When a child needs to be looked after, the LA will initially be in charge of trying to find a registered carers for a child. Independent Fostering Agencies work in close conjunction with LAs to place children in nurturing environments that are suitable for their needs. LAs may look to foster agencies if they don’t have enough foster parents to meet the demand, if they don’t have any carers located in the area required, or don’t have foster parents with the required skills or experience.

The most important thing when placing children and young people is that they are guaranteed the right support from their foster parents. Often, children may have specific needs that require a particular skill set. These types of skills are often developed and supported in Independent Fostering Agencies like ours, and the LA will look to match children with foster parents who can offer these specific skills as it will be a huge benefit for the child or young person. LAs and Independent Fostering Agencies will always work together to ensure the very best outcome for the child involved.

Whether you’re new to foster care and considering the types of foster agencies available to you, or considering transferring to a friendly family run foster agency, there are plenty of reasons why fostering with an Independent Fostering Agency is a great idea. When you join Family Fostering Partners you benefit from a community approach; we are an agency with our foster families at the heart of everything that we do! We offer around the clock support and are dedicated to supporting the foster families within our agency every step of the way.

Reasons to choose an Independent Fostering Agency:

  • Fostering allowance - the allowance that you are paid varies across different foster agencies, however, it tends to be higher in a foster care agency compared to a local authority. We offer a very generous allowance that covers the cost of caring for a child and also acknowledges the hard work and time commitment you and your family dedicate to your role within our agency. Find out more here.
  • A ‘foster family’ focused agency- regular events are hosted for foster parents, allowing you to meet like-minded people and gain a support network of foster families.
  • Specialist training - all of our carers receive full initial training as well as ongoing training on various specialities and subjects. We are dedicated to therapeutic fostering and have designed our training around this, providing our carers with the skills and knowledge they need to provide children with the best possible futures. Read more about our attachment-focused approach and training ethos here.  We pride ourselves on delivering a high level of support and training, but please note that different fostering agencies will provide different levels of support.
  • Ongoing support - the level of support you will receive at an Independent Fostering Agency is unrivalled compared to LAs. At Family Fostering Partners we are committed to supporting carers from the initial enquiry through to their first placement and beyond with regular visits from experienced link workers and a 24-hour support service. All approved foster parents will also have access to external support ‘Foster Talk’.

Transferring or joining us

To begin your journey with us, all you need to do is pick up the phone or send an email. Whether you’re interested in transferring to us, or just want to begin your foster care career, call us on 03300 948816 or send us an email to info@familyfosteringpartners.co.uk. Alternatively, you can use our live chat tool or fill out our contact form.

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