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What are the benefits of fostering with an independent fostering agency?

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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.

What is a local authority fostering service?

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.

What is an independent fostering agency?

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.

Benefits of fostering with an independent fostering agency

There is a wealth of benefits you’ll experience by choosing to foster with an independent agency. Some of these include:

  • Training – with an independent fostering agency, it’s likely that there will also be more training and skill enhancement opportunities available. This is because the amount of fostering families on placement with the independent fostering agency is a lot less than with a local authority – allowing for more time and resource for foster parents’ development.
  • Support – on a similar thread to the above, the support you would receive from an independent fostering agency compared to a local authority would also be large. For example, here at Capstone Foster Care, we have a support team on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to give you support for any fostering related queries and guidance you require.
  • Covers wider areas – there is likely to be more opportunities for placements when fostering with an independent agency, as agencies cover a wider area.
  • Allowance – typically, agencies tend to offer a larger fostering allowance than a local authority. Learn more about how much foster parents get paid.
  • Age – in general, the age of children in the foster care system is higher when fostering with an independent agency. This can be a benefit if you’re interested in fostering older children rather than young children and babies.

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.

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