Should I foster with the Local Authority / Trust or an Independent Agency?

The decision to become a foster carer with a Local Authority / Children’s Trust or an Independent Fostering Agency depends on various factors, and individuals may have different preferences based on their circumstances.

Here are six potential benefits of choosing to foster with your Local Authority / Children’s Trust:

  1. We are the Corporate Parent

The Local Authority / Children’s Trust are responsible for all of the children who come into care. This means that when a child needs a foster family in Birmingham, we will always look to our own in-house foster carers first and will only look further afield when we have explored every possible option of meeting the child’s needs from our in-house carers first. This means that our foster carers are more likely to get regular placements within their preferred age range.

  1. Direct involvement with the community

Fostering with your Local Authority / Children’s Trust offers a closer connection to the community you live in. You will be supporting children and families from your own area, fostering a sense of local connection and community engagement.

  1. Do not operate for profit

Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs) are private organisations that provide foster care services. While some IFAs operate as non-profit organisations or charities with a mission to support children in need, others operate for profit.

For-profit Independent Fostering Agencies are businesses that aim to generate revenue from their services. They may be run by private companies or individuals, and their income often comes from government contracts, Local Authorities, and other funding sources. These agencies typically provide foster care services to Local Authorities, and they receive payments in return for recruiting, training, and supporting foster carers and placing children in their care.

Local Authorities / Children’s Trusts are non-profit organisations, which means every penny of our funding goes towards safeguarding and improving the lives of the most vulnerable children and young people in the local area.

  1. Integrated support services

Local Authorities / Children’s Trusts have integrated support services that are directly aligned with other social services and community resources. This can facilitate a more comprehensive and holistic approach to meeting the needs of the foster child, including educational, healthcare, and therapeutic services.

  1. Local training and development opportunities

When you foster with the Local Authority, you will have access to local training sessions and support groups. At Birmingham Children’s Trust, we offer specific training programs tailored to the needs of our foster carers. This will help you develop the necessary skills and knowledge to provide effective care where children can feel safe, heal, and reach their full potential.

  1. Finances

While finances can be presented differently and it often looks like Independent Fostering Agencies pay a higher rate, it is worth considering that everything must come out of that cost if you foster with an IFA. That means all travel expenses, food, and clothes for the child etc. all need to be budgeted carefully.

When you foster with Birmingham Children’s Trust, you will receive a child maintenance figure, an allowance for you, and additional payments throughout the year such as the child’s birthday, plus you can claim some additional expenses as well.

There is also the additional stability of having more regular placements with your Local Authority / Children’s Trust than with an IFA as you are only paid if you have a child in placement.

A Foster Carer’s View

Lisa and her husband transferred to Birmingham Children’s Trust from an Independent Fostering Agency almost three years ago. She said:

“We had previously been with two agencies; one for almost eight years, and the other for two years, both of which had positive starts. However, a lack of support meant that our fostering journey was particularly difficult.

We have fostered for 13 years now and are experienced carers who look after children with additional needs. Birmingham Children’s Trust have not only recognised how well we care and advocate for the children, but genuinely appreciate what we do. 

Moving to the Trust we have cut out the middleman and gone straight to the Corporate Parent.

If you are unhappy with your fostering agency, then why not give Birmingham Children’s Trust a try; I have no regrets. Our hard work and skills are recognised, and I feel we are valued and treated as professionals.

Good luck whatever decision you decide. Children need carers who genuinely care, and carers in turn need and deserve to be supported. It feels good to be valued which has been our overall experience of fostering with Birmingham Children’s Trust.”

Transfer to us

If you’re already a foster carer with another agency and are thinking of a change then contact our friendly team who can explain the process involved in transferring to us, as well as the great support and rewards we offer our carers.

Call our dedicated recruitment team today on 0121 303 7575 or enquire online!

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