Independent fostering agencies like Capstone are fostering agencies that work closely with local authorities in order to provide children or young people in foster care a secure and loving home. If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer but aren’t sure whether to choose an independent fostering agency or to foster with a local authority, our guide has you covered. We’ll explain how an independent foster agency works, how it compares to local authority fostering as well as the benefits for you so that you can make an informed decision that’s right for you.
Independent fostering agencies first emerged as a response to the growing demand for child protection services. Prior to this, only local authorities managed the safeguarding of children in the foster care system.
As an independent fostering agency, Capstone approves people to be foster carers for children. Our approved foster carers provide various types of foster care to cater for the needs of the child or young person. This can include both long-term foster care, short-term foster care, and specialist fostering, such as therapeutic fostering - a type of fostering that is unique to Capstone Foster Care, designed to support children and young people who may have dealt with trauma or abuse prior to being placed in foster care.
If you choose to foster with a local authority, you’ll likely receive regular and quick placements, as independent foster agencies tend to step in when a local authority is unable to place a foster child with one of their approved foster families.
Typically, local authorities cover a smaller area than independent foster agencies, as they are responsible for safeguarding all the children within their local council. Independent fostering agencies usually cover a wider geographical area, which gives you more opportunities to foster.
Generally, fostering from a local agency will mean that the children you take care of tend to be babies and young children - but in an independent fostering agency, the children and young people in care are likely to be a bit older.
Independent fostering agencies offer a wide range of benefits compared to local authorities, including a familial feel. In fact, several foster carers decide to make the move to an independent fostering agency after experiencing local authority fostering.
“I was talking to a lady at swimming a while ago who also had a foster child with her, she was a foster carer with the local authority and she told me how she had been waiting 18 months for psychological support for her foster child. We have had meetings with a psychotherapist for 1 hour every week via the Capstone MATTS programme from the start and it made us realise just how different things might be without the support available from Capstone.”
As well as a “family feel”, independent fostering has a wealth of benefits compared to local authority fostering
Due to increased resources, there’s more of a focus on training with independent fostering in comparison to local authority fostering. Here at Capstone, we offer continuous training and development to help you excel in your fostering career. Some of the courses include topics such as;
We also provide specialist training for those working as Therapeutic Foster Carers in the form of our ‘Fostering Changes’ training delivered by in-house social workers to give you practical skills needed to support your foster child.
Fostering with an independent fostering agency such as Capstone will provide you with increased support, such as calls and visits from a dedicated social worker, as often as you need them. Our dedicated team is always on hand, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to listen to your needs and support you in a professional and friendly way.
Here at Capstone, we’ve also developed our own bespoke service MATTS (Multidisciplinary Assessment Treatment and Therapy Service), which provides mental health services to children and young people at the point of need. It provides access to support and training, subject matter experts and specialists who will help you to establish stability within your fostering family.
The fostering allowance generally tends to be better from an independent fostering agency than a local authority. Your fostering allowance will cover the costs of looking after a child and reward you for your time and skill based on the type of fostering placement and the type of foster care. If you’re interested in how much we pay our foster carers, read our guide for more information.
Find out more about why you should choose Capstone as an independent foster agency by reading through our list of benefits. If you’re ready to take the next step in your fostering career but are unsure if you meet the requirements, read our helpful guide explaining who can foster or talk to our helpful team today.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.