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Agency Fostering

(9 Posts)
gswar999 Thu 11-Feb-16 15:07:19

Does anyone know if a local authority has the legal powers to make you move from a private agency back to Local authority. They are doing this due to financial reasons. I assume if I refuse they will move the children. On my part its not just the financial side (40% less payment) thats bothering me but the fact that I have been with my agency for years, they provide excellent support and I have built up many friends at support groups. I am being blackmailed into coming to them or losing the children.

Dolly80 Thu 11-Feb-16 15:13:27

I used to work in fostering. I don't think they can make you move, it's up to you who you foster for.

However, they can make the decision to move any children which are looked after to them, for example into a local authority placement instead of an independent fostering agency (IFA).

As you're aware, IFA's cost substantially more for local authorities. If there are suitable carers 'in house' they will try to use them where possible. Whether this is right or wrong for the children currently in your care I don't know but I am aware it's a growing trend as there just isn't the money available that there used to be.

gswar999 Thu 11-Feb-16 16:14:03

Thanks for the info Dolly80, I will refuse to move and highlight that it is not in the best interest of the children to move placements and appeal their decision etc if need be. I realsie they pay IFA more money per placement but they do not factor in overall costs of staff, training, recruitment etc when they compare the costs side by side but they see the bottom line and say it costs more. Thanks.

Cassimin Thu 11-Feb-16 17:05:19

They can't make you move but can move the children. This happened to us. If children are settled it is obviously not in their best interest.
If they insist ensure that they know you will take it further.
Contact guardian / IRO.
In our case child eventually came back as "experienced" LA carer couldn't cope with behaviour.
Child was 4!

gswar999 Thu 11-Feb-16 17:19:42

Thanks cassimin, stressful times ahead me thinks! No change there then.

Dolly80 Thu 11-Feb-16 20:03:13

Best of luck OP, all you can do is advocate what you think is in the best interests of the children to the relevant parties.

I'm not sure that IFA's charge more due to increased overheads. IFA's are private businesses invested in turning a profit. Still, there are good ones out there and if you've found one you're happy with you shouldn't feel obliged to change to an LA.

3PurpleCrocs Thu 11-Feb-16 22:34:20

My LA will now move children in house as soon as possible, but I've never heard of them moving the carer too!

It absolutely comes down to money these days. My LA pay its own carers around £110 per week. If they need to use an agency it costs them around £2200 per week. That money doesn't go to the carer, but to the agency. That's a hell of a lot of staff, training and recruitment costs! £8800 per month is more than they pay me per year.

There are options available to you though OP and I know agency carers who have fought for and kept long term placements.

Kitsandkids Sat 13-Feb-16 10:51:31

My LA has poached quite a lot of agency carers over the past couple of years, but they've done this by keeping them on the same level of pay as they were with at the agency. So, for example, one carer I know who started at an agency but is now with the LA, is paid 1200 pounds a week (she has three LAC). I'm paid less than 80. Those of us who started with the LA and were loyal to them from the start understandably feel this is a little unfair!

JacobMalloy02 Thu 18-Feb-16 21:48:15

Many LA's are under pressure to keep costs low and I (as an RM of a IFA) often see them wanting to bring children in house.

We always engage an advocate if its in the best interest of the child to stay. Speak to the child's IRO and Guardian if appointed. If you are the best place for the child, they should stay with you. You should be under no pressure to move to the LA. We have also taken an LA to a judicial review on a decision and won. Remember - it should be in the child's best interest and you have a right to continue to foster for a IFA.

3PurpleCrocs - you are way out on costs to IFA's - average cost is £800 per week for a standard placement. Half goes to the carer and half pays for the running costs of the agency. People need to move away from the idea that IFA's are just about profit and cost more. There is significant research that LA's cost just as much as IFA's when you cost in all overheads and running of the in house fostering service.

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