If you are interested in a career in foster care, you must have a number of questions. You are going to be self employed as a foster carer but you will be working with your local authority or independent agency.
Both these options have their own advantages but many people feel more happy and comfortable working with an agency as they typically offer excellent support to a foster carer. However, there are hundreds of independent agencies to choose from and you might not know everything you should about making the right choice. Here is a quick guide on how to choose the perfect foster agency.
Begin Your Search
It is recommended to begin your search in the immediate local area to find an independent agency near you or a big agency with a regional branch. It is important to find someone near you to get the required support.
Another important thing you need to consider is specialisation of the agency. Some agencies specialise in particular areas including long-term care, short-term care, emergency foster care or siblings among other things. If you are interested in a particular area of fostering, this will help in narrowing down your search.
After shortlisting a few foster agencies in your area, you should further research about the level of support offered by the agency. Find out how long the staff team in the agency has been in place. If they have a high staff turnover rate, it usually means things are not as good as they seem to be.
Make sure they have a dedicated worker assigned to you to allow you to get the support you need. A professional agency will also be willing to provide contact details of some of the existing foster carers working with them to allow you to get an honest review.
These reports are a great resource for potential foster carers to know more about an agency. You should go through the Ofsted report in detail and find out what foster carers and partnership authorities say about the staff members and the agency as a whole. In case the Ofsted report is not available on the agency website, check the Ofsted’s website for these reports.
Make sure the agency is upfront about everything including fees, allowances as well as types of fostering on offer among other things. Stay away from an agency that uses vague statements on its website. All professional agencies understand the importance of transparency and therefore, they usually have all the important information regarding allowances, fees and other such things listed on their website.
There is a common misconception that all the independent fostering agencies are not-for-profit. While the majority of the agencies are not for profit but there are agencies that operate for-profit. Therefore, you should do your homework and make sure that you choose an organisation that is the right fit for you.
Overall, there are several options to choose from when it comes to choosing a fostering agency but not all the foster agencies are created equal. Pay attention to the above mentioned tips in order to choose an agency that is right for you.