Why foster for us

If you are thinking of fostering, it can be confusing trying to decide what's best for you and the children you will care for.

There are many compelling reasons to foster for us rather than an independent fostering agency (IFA).

We are rated 'Good' by Ofsted

Children's Services were inspected by Ofsted in September 2023.

The overall result was 'Good', and we are so proud that the experiences and progress of children in our care was rated ‘Outstanding’.

Special mention was given to:

  • Our child-focused, stable, consistent and skilled workforce.
  • Children in care receive an outstanding service that results in their life experiences significantly improving.
  • Most children in care enjoy trusting, enduring relationships with social workers who know them well.
  • Social workers have an excellent oversight of children’s physical and emotional health needs.
  • The support of an in-house psychologist based in the fostering service helps support children and their carers through challenging times.
  • Foster carers feel well supported. This helps promote stability and consistency for children.
  • Children report feeling listened to and valued by social workers, managers and leaders.

We help to keep children local

Coming into care is very unsettling for a child. Having to move to an unfamiliar area can make this trauma worse, especially as it can involve a very long journey to and from school. They may not be able to see friends and family as easily, or continue with hobbies and clubs they're involved in.

Agency foster carers can have children placed with them from 45 miles away or even further, while we always aim to keep children as close to their communities as possible.

We pay expenses on top of weekly allowances

You may see adverts from fostering agencies which draw attention to the financial rewards of fostering. On paper, they appear to pay higher allowances than us.

However, many agency foster carers are expected to cover all the costs of fostering out of this allowance, which can soon add up.

We also pay expenses on top of the allowance, for things like mileage, equipment and clothing, amongst other costs.

We provide local training and support

We provide support and training locally, while many agency foster carers need to travel long distances for this. Furthermore, lots of regional fostering agency offices have closed over the last few years, which has meant their carers need to travel even further for training and support.

We offer shorter gaps between foster placements

We always try to match children with our own council carers first. We have recruited, assessed and trained them and therefore know how well they will be able to meet the needs of children that need to be fostered. This means that we can find an appropriate placement more quickly for a foster child and their foster family.

We only look to place children with agency foster carers when there are no suitable council carers with space. As a result, agency foster carers often wait for a long time to have children placed with them, which can be very disheartening when they just want to care for children.

You can combine work and fostering

Most agencies insist that at least one of the adult carers in a household gives up work. This is mainly because a lot of children are placed with agency foster carers at short notice.

As many agency foster carers can have long gaps between children’s placements, not being able to work can put a strain on their finances. In comparison, many of our carers also work while caring for a foster child, which together with shorter gaps between placements, means they are in a better position financially.

You have a bigger support network

As one of our foster carers you will be part of a large local network of foster carers and support groups. Agency foster carers, meanwhile, tend to be spread over a wider area and can often feel quite isolated.

Agencies are profit-making businesses

Most independent fostering agencies are businesses which exist to provide a return to their owners or shareholders. They can make hundreds of millions of pounds in profit every year.