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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Independent Fostering Agencies: A Partnership with Government

When you Google ‘fostering’, the top results you see are from councils and local authorities. Government fostering services do vital work helping children and young people in their area grow up in safe, nurturing environments.

As an independent fostering agency (IFA), we’re proud to work in partnership with local authorities to support this important mission.

Local authorities work hard to find the best placements for children in care
Back in May, charity The Fostering Network calculated that 1,008 children came into care in just 2 weeks.

This means there’s immense demand for foster carers across the UK.
Local authorities train and recruit their own foster carers but struggle to keep up with the number of children who need placements. And it’s not just a numbers game – children have unique requirements and need specific foster carer skill sets to help them thrive.
That’s where independent fostering agencies like Perpetual come in. If the local authority doesn’t have the right carer available, it turns to specialists to find the best match for the child or young person.

Agencies have different specialities when it comes to recruiting and training foster carers. This means carers get the support and professional development best suited to them, and local authorities have trained carers they draw on to provide the best match.

The partnership approach promotes positive outcomes
Communication and collaboration are key to successful outcomes in foster care. From the moment the local authority asks for help placing a child, everyone in the team surrounding the care of the child is in constant contact.

Before placement, the local authority social worker meets with us and our foster carer to discuss the child’s needs. Together we determine how to provide the best support. After the child moves in, we’re in regular contact with the foster carer and the local authority so we can all work together to refine and develop the child’s care plan.
This approach allows the local authority to provide children with the best possible living situations while knowing we’re giving foster carers the shoulder-to-shoulder support they need.

And this partnership approach yields impressive results.

Here’s an example, in the words of a local authority social worker:
‘I have had a child placed with [a foster carer with Perpetual] since May 2016. Shortly after being placed, I noticed a significant change in the child’s behaviour, which was extremely challenging in the family home, and his engagement with myself.
‘I firmly believe this is through the positive and proactive approach of the foster carer. I feel that the child has responded well to her calm and therapeutic approach to fostering, which allows the child to feel safe and secure no matter his behaviour, and this has allowed him to flourish.’

Outcomes like these make everyone involved in foster care proud of our valuable work.

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