Looking to become a foster carer? Deciding whether to foster with an independent fostering agency or a local authority is a big decision – and will naturally have a large impact on your fostering experience. So, how should you know which to choose? Understand the difference between the two, and learn why fostering with an independent fostering agency can be beneficial not only for support, but enhancing your skills as a foster carer, too.
Local authorities are legally responsible for the outcomes and safeguarding all of children in the foster care system. These are primarily the local councils in the area and/or region.
As a rule, local authorities place ‘in house’ foster carers first – meaning if you choose to foster with a local authority, you’re likely to receive placements regularly and quickly. However, independent agencies tend to cover a wider area – which means there may be more opportunity for placements than when fostering with a local authority.
Initially, independent fostering agencies did not exist – local authorities were the only fostering service available and all children who care into the foster care system were placed ‘in house’ with a local authority. Therefore, foster carers, were all originally recruited by the local authority. However, these local authorities struggled to match the demand of facilitating foster care placements – which encouraged the introduction of independent fostering agencies to help alleviate some of the high demand for fostering.
Independent fostering agencies, such as Capstone Foster Care, still work very closely alongside the local authorities – but provide an independent service to foster carers, including support, training, pay and more.
There is a wealth of benefits you’ll experience by choosing to foster with an independent agency. Some of these include:
Decided to choose an independent agency to start your fostering journey? Find out more information about the benefits of fostering with us, and why you should choose Capstone as your independent fostering agency.
Alternatively, if you’re already an existing foster carer either at a local authority or another independent agency, learn why you should transfer to Capstone Foster Care today. For any more information, get in touch now.