If you are thinking of fostering it can be daunting; do I go with an agency or directly with the local authority and what's the difference anyway?
Here is why we all choose to be with the local authority directly...
- A local authority is not doing it to make a profit from fostering, they just want the right carer for the right child.
- As a carer you are only paid when you are fostering a child and a local authority will always place a child with their own carers before approaching other agencies. Being a local authority carer will mean you will have more consistency and regular income from fostering whereas with an agency you may go several months without actually fostering a child.
- Fostering with your local authority means everything from support to training is held locally to you and therefore convenient. Although the agency may be local to you, they may be run or owned by a company elsewhere in the country and to reduce their overheads, support and training may be held at a central location that involves travelling distances at your own cost.
- A local authority not only pays you but provides money for each child for necessities (clothes, toys, specialised equipment) meaning you are reimbursed for any extras you pay for. Some agencies expect you to provide these necessities out of your own pocket.
- Being a local authority carer will provide you with better support. Your own supervising social worker will be working for the same organisation as the child’s social worker so it opens lines of communication where you can both advocate for the child.
- As a local authority carer, you will have contact with both your own and the child’s social worker. Some agencies prefer their carers not to have direct contact with the child’s social worker preventing important information being exchanged. This does not benefit the child.