If you’ve decided to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable children, then you’ll be searching for an agency that will work for you. Theoretically, you won’t be employed by the agency as a foster carer, but you will work alongside a local authority or independent agency, so it’s important to take a step back and make your choice wisely. Throughout this article, we’ll discuss four tips for choosing the right foster agency.
When you first start searching for a fostering agency, we recommend starting in your local area. This is essential because you will need access to their nearby support network, so a practical travelling distance makes sense.
Not all foster agencies are the same, as some of them cover different niche areas. For example, they may be experts in respite care, short or long-term care, emergency placements, or even sibling-only placements. Make sure you know which area of foster care you’re most curious about, as this will help to reduce your search results.
Different Types of Foster Agency
Foster agencies can be split into two categories – local authority and independent. A local authority agency acts alongside the social work teams, which trains its own network of reputable foster carers. On the other hand, an independent agency like Foster Care Associates Scotland can pick up the slack and place children in need that the local authority is unable to. Typically, they have their own network of foster carers that all support each other.
Reasons to Go Independent
Everybody has their own set of goals and beliefs, so it’s important to find an agency that aligns with your views. The best part about an independent agency is that it will have its own code of practice and ethos. Additionally, an independent agency will have more time to spend on supporting you, and therefore foster children in your care. Further, in some cases, the financial allowances are higher than local authority agencies.
Asking the Right Questions
After narrowing down your search of fostering agencies, you should make initial contact so that you can have an informal conversation. This is your opportunity to ask questions beyond a website’s FAQs. The types of questions you should be asking include:
- What does your placement procedure look like?
- What type of training provisions are there?
- How much allowance is paid and how often?
- What is your ratio of agency staff to foster carers?
- What is your agency’s presence like in my area?
While asking questions of the agency is great, you’ll also need to be prepared to answer questions yourself. After all, the foster care agency needs to make sure you will be a good fit for them. When answering questions, make sure you speak with honesty about your background, experience, and reasons for choosing to become a foster carer.
Now that you’ve taken in the tips outlined above, we hope that you’re in a better position to begin choosing the right foster agency for you. Remember, your goal as a foster carer will be to provide a caring and loving environment to foster children, so you must get off to a positive start.
What are the benefits of being a foster parent?
As a foster parent, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on a child’s life in many ways, even just by being a positive role model. Seeing a child grow and develop under your care can be a source of great pride and personal satisfaction, as you nurture to give a positive self-image and improve self-esteem.
Fostering a child is an incredibly rewarding experience and can make a huge difference in a child’s life. By providing a loving, safe, nurturing and supportive environment, foster parents can help children learn how to trust and form healthy connections with adults. They can also provide a safe place for children to express their feelings and heal from trauma.
You can provide foster children with structure, consistency, and stability they may not have otherwise. Which leads to help achieving educational success, develop social skills to prepare them for their future and adulthood.