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How to choose a foster care agency

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There’s an overwhelming demand for foster carers in the UK. So, if you’re considering fostering for the first time, you may have a number of questions about how to get started. Choosing a foster care agency might not even be on your radar, but it can make a huge difference to how supported you feel as a foster carer, how much say you get in the care of your foster child and the pay, benefits, and discounts you’ll receive when you start your career in foster care. In this guide, we’ll explain what you should consider when choosing a foster care agency.

What foster care options are there?

There are a number of different foster care options out there, including your local authority. There are also lots of choices when it comes to independent foster care agencies and the benefits of choosing these may vary. Ultimately, whichever foster care agency you choose will have the child’s well-being at the forefront of its priorities. However, your decision will impact your overall fostering experience.

Choosing a foster care agency

Size of foster care agency

Independent foster care agencies and local authorities can vary in size, which can impact the level of support available to you. Here at Capstone Foster Care, our size means we’re able to offer help to children across the country. But also benefit from being able to offer personal support to our children and carers. Our social workers also have a small caseload, allowing them to be there whenever they’re needed.

Foster agency location

When deciding on which foster care agency to use, checking the location they serve is important. Some foster care agencies, like us here at Capstone, operate nationally, with offices in the NorthSouth WestSouth East and the Midlands. Whereas other agencies are focused on the local area like Excel Fostering, who are specialised in the North, and Foster Care UK in the South East. Choosing a foster care agency with offices in your area will help improve your chances of having a foster child placed with you.

Support for your foster child

You should also find out about what support is available to your foster child from the foster care agency. For example, Capstone Foster Care offer a wealth of support for your foster child.

Our social workers have smaller caseloads, serving a maximum of 12 families, whereas in local authorities, social workers can be responsible for up to 30 families. By allowing our social workers to have fewer cases, they can really get to know you as a fostering family, and dedicate their time to you and your foster child’s needs. 

We also offer specialist clinical support services for the children and young people who need it most. Our MATTs service is unique to Capstone and is a specialist service which offers mental health services to your foster child at the point of need.

Our support workers are also here to work with your foster child in order to support their growth and development, both academically and personally. From when they enter your care, until they leave care and beyond, we provide exceptional support. With a focus on specialist support to young people leaving care through our own Capstone Care Leavers Trust.

Support available for you

Feeling supported within the fostering community is key to achieving success in your fostering career. Without adequate support, fostering can sometimes feel like an isolated experience. Here at Capstone, we’re proud of the support we offer to our foster carers, both in terms of creating a welcoming community and providing helpful advice and valuable resources for our foster carers.

If it’s your first time fostering with us, you’ll benefit from a tailored induction program to help prepare you for fostering with us. We also provide 24-hour care, 7 days a week, meaning there’s always an expert you can reach out to when you need extra support or advice. You’ll also have your own dedicated placement officer, placement plan and social worker, maintaining consistency within the team involved in your fostering experience, ensuring you’re working with a team that knows you and your foster child.

An additional benefit of fostering with Capstone includes membership with FosterTalk. This is a specialist service that provides you with bespoke advice, including legal and financial advice. It also supplies you with benefits like discounts on goods and services.   

As a foster carer with Capstone, you’ll become part of our fostering community, where you’re able to meet up with other foster carers in a similar position to you with our regular support groups, open for both you and your family to attend. You’ll also benefit from access to our carer area on the website for more guides and support.

Don't just take our word for it, here's what our foster carers have to say about the support we have available to them:

" The staff at Capstone are quick to follow up on any queries or questions. They are friendly and supportive"

"They give great support when needed. There is always someone at the end of the phone when calling. Love my social worker"

Training and development available

When choosing foster care as a career, it’s important to look for a foster care agency that is able to invest in your training and development in order to provide the best possible care for your foster child.

Continuous development is something that is extremely important to us at Capstone Foster Care, and our team of professionals deliver training across a range of subjects. New foster carers will be required to attend the Skills to Foster training course in order to develop the tools needed to succeed as foster carers. We also provide specialist training for foster carers providing therapeutic foster care or MATTs, ensuring you’re able to form a positive and supportive relationship with your foster child.  

Here's what our foster carers have to say about our MATTs therapy;

"They give great support when needed. There is always someone at the end of the phone when calling. Love my social worker"

Reward and appreciation

While making a difference in a child’s life through foster care is an extremely rewarding career, it’s not without its challenges. Choosing a foster care agency that appreciates you and rewards you for your hard work and time can make all the difference in providing motivation through more challenging times.

If you choose Capstone as your foster care agency, you’ll benefit from rewards in the form of social events and 14 days paid holiday a year. You’ll also benefit from special recognition for your achievements such as length of service. 

Foster Care Pay                                                                                            

Finally, being rewarded financially for the work you do in caring for your foster child will differ depending on which agency you choose, as well as the type of foster care you provide.

Capstone offers a competitive fostering allowance. For more advice about how much foster carers get paid, see our guide.  

Ready to choose Capstone as your foster care agency? Or just want to find out what it means to foster with us? Contact our knowledgeable team today for more information.

Thinking of fostering?

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.

The information you provide will be used to respond to the enquiry you have submitted, for further information please refer to our privacy policy.

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Find out more about fostering with Capstone.

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Ways to
GET IN TOUCH

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Download our helpful guide to becoming a foster carer with Capstone Foster Care.