Starting the process:
- Complete the on line confidential enquiry form.
- We will analyse the information and contact you if we have any questions, we will locate two or three agencies on our database that best meet your requirements
- We will contact you with our recommendations and ask you if you have a preferred fostering agency.
- We will contact the preferred agency and pass on your details and negotiate with them on your behalf
- Once we have agreed with you, and only on your instruction, will we arrange for the formal transfer process to commence
- We will monitor the transfer and be available to you to answer any questions you might have
And don’t worry the children will not be removed from your care if you decide to transfer.
Fostering Agencies and Support
All agencies will say their support is brilliant. But in reality what does this mean? Support is about you being given the knowledge to be a skillful and confident carer who provides the best care and enjoys being a foster carer. Support is about being in touch with you on a regular basis, both by phone and visits to your home to discuss any concerns and for you to be able to get extra support if necessary.
All agencies will claim to deliver 24 hour support, seven days a week, 365 days per year. But are they able to get support out to you quickly? You need to be confident that they are able to deliver what they say they can provide. Ask how local their support is.
Fostering agencies operate a support system. When circumstances demand, a carer can access a local duty officer, a senior social worker or a Director depending on the nature of the emergency.
Ask to speak to foster carers from the agencies you are thinking of transferring to, ask them what the support is really like and any examples of how it has worked for them or if they have been let down.
Support should also include Carer Support Groups when agencies arrange groups of carers to get together to share experiences and offer mutual support. Ask how frequent they are, how are they organised and what the groups discuss. Properly organised and run, these groups can be an invaluable resource for a carer. If not they quickly become poorly attended and a waste of time.
Some agencies will also run specialist support groups focused for example on Men who Foster and Children who Foster for the birth children of foster carers who also have a part to play in the fostering task.
The best fostering agencies see support groups as invaluable. They are a great forum for allowing agencies to understand what issues currenty concern foster carers, enabling them to react in the best way. Most agencies will also have a calendar of social events for foster carers and the looked after children.
We hope that you have found this useful and that it has given you a better idea about some of the information you need to know to be confident that an agency is right for and your family.