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Fostering in Lancashire

(17 Posts)
Callywalls Fri 10-Jun-16 14:38:40

Hi, my hubby and I are hoping to become foster carers. We have previously adopted via Lancashire County Council and are now researching who best to foster with. The Local Authority or a Private Agency - it is so mind boggling! We are leaning towards the LA because of our history with them, but I don't understand the "tiered payment system" they operate. I understand that you start on Tier 1 then after training, reviews etc progress to Tier 2 with an increase of £115 per week, but is this per child? We are hoping to be approved for 2 children. Please don't think I am only concerned with the money aspect of fostering, I would never have adopted a child if money was the only thing that motivated me. I just don't understand the system and I have heard poor reviews of LA fostering which is a shame as they seem desperate for foster carers. Any advice much appreciated. Thanks

motherchuckinhen16 Fri 10-Jun-16 19:47:58

Hi we are with our LA been approved for a year now. We also have the tier system. According to my Supervising SW the tier you are approved for will reflect the type of foster placement you offer e.g. short term or permanent and ages of children as well as your experience. We started at level 2, then after 8 months of emergency and short term moved to level 3 as we now have a permanent FC and have completed training etc.
The child's weekly allowance remains the same through the tiers but increases with age. The fee that you receive increases with Tier level.
We currently have supportive and good social workers but that is not always the case and you do have to keep on asking if you or your FC needs something
I believe agencies provide better support but have fewer children to place and harder to place children e.g. large sibling groups and very challenging / high need children as LA always utilise in house carers first before going to an agency to find a foster family for a child.
Good luck, we have found fostering very challenging at times but also very rewarding :-)

Callywalls Sat 11-Jun-16 09:55:41

Thanks so much motherchuckinhen for taking the time and trouble to reply to me, it is the first time I have posted on here - I only joined yesterday and I was a bit nervous! It sounds like the LA you work for are very good, but Lancashire seem to be short of funds. They seem to start everyone on Tier 1 and only progress to Tier 2 after a year. I have looked at other LA's (Bolton and Wigan) and they seem to have a system similar to yours. Do I have to go with my local LA, I live in Chorley and am actually nearer to Wigan than Preston (which is where Lancashire LA is based) Can i go with another LA? I stress I am not obsessed with the money, my husband works full-time and we would not be relying on fostering as an income, we are not doing it for those reasons, but I would like to foster a sibling group and I know bringing up children is not cheap and I cannot commit to fostering if I thought I would struggle to support the children - not fair on them or us. You do a wonderful job and thanks for your advice.

Twopots Sat 11-Jun-16 14:19:03

You can foster with neighbouring LAs our LA also has the tier system I started at 1 and by the end of the first year I was at level 3. Each LA pays differently as well so I would make enquiries into that aspect of the different LAs good luck 😃

Cassimin Sat 11-Jun-16 19:45:10

Some people on here don't agree with IFAs but we foster with one.
We get plenty of training and regular support groups.
We receive training to achieve recognised qualifications.
We are paid fortnightly approx £350 per child per week.
This is a fixed amount wether the child has complex needs, behavioural problems etc.
From this you are required to save for the child and provide pocket money.
You need to take into account you may have to transport long distances, one of our little ones had a 64 mile per day school run.
We have had children with extreme behavioural and medical needs so this takes up a lot of your time and your own family definitely goes on the back burner.
Anyone who says people foster for the money should try it for themselves, you could earn more on minimum wage, no stress, sick pay and holiday pay.
It's more about how rewarding it is and wanting to help and make a difference to another family/ child.
We are with fostering solutions. Their head office is in Bolton and I know carers who are near Wigan.
I chose IFA because they were local and didn't feel confident about help I would get from LA.
Good luck.

Callywalls Sun 12-Jun-16 09:20:22

Thanks so much to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to reply to me. Your advice is invaluable. You all do a wonderful thing by fostering (I have already had experience of a foster family when I adopted my son and being placed with them whilst waiting to be adopted changed his life for the better) and I agree that no-one does this for the money, whether with a LA or a private agency. Thanks

YorkshireMansWife Tue 14-Jun-16 16:25:31

Callywalls we foster for LCC if you want to pm me.
I can answer anything you want grin

Callywalls Thu 16-Jun-16 09:23:17

Thanks YorkshireMansWife I have sent you pm with a couple of queries I have about Lancashire CC.

Higgyboo Thu 07-Jul-16 20:41:44

We also live in Lancashire, and are considering fostering for the first time, I have spoken to a couple of ifa and have left messages with lcc, who took forever to call me back which annoyed me! I have left a message with bwd, also haven't called back but this was only today.
I have spoken with someone who fosters with bwd who said good things, and I have dealings with lcc through my job and don't have a very high opinion of them.
If anybody fosters with either lcc or bwd could they give me any info on how you find them?
Think local authority is the way to go after speaking to a couple of agencies, we have three birth children aged home, 18,13 and 2 which means we would struggle with an agency because apparently they like to have a year either side of birth childrens age meaning we would be restricted and they don't get many referrals in that age range.
If anybody has any thoughts please let me know

YorkshireMansWife Fri 08-Jul-16 09:07:19

Higgyboo - I foster for LCC, if you pm me any questions you have and I will give you a honest answer.

Callywalls Fri 08-Jul-16 09:43:10

Higgyboo - After doing extensive research (and speaking to YorkshireMansWife who was really really helpful) we have decided to go with LCC. I also approached Wigan who have never got back to me, I just assume they don't need any more foster carers. We attended an open evening for LCC, then had a home visit, they don't pay very much, certainly not what the private agencies pay, but their matching process seems better (as they have so many children in their system) which is obviously really important. The only thing that put me off was possibly having to drive a child a long way to school everyday. All I can say is you will have to get back onto LCC if you want to go with them, we kept having to chase them up, there are obviously problems with their admin department. I have no experience of bwd but would be interested to learn more about them - there are that many agencies/authorities out there that our heads were spinning, it is such a big decision and we don't want to make a mistake. Good luck

YorkshireMansWife Fri 08-Jul-16 09:58:26

Thanks Callywalls - I am glad you went with LCC, I am sure you will not regret it.

Higgyboo Fri 08-Jul-16 11:40:48

Thanks for that callywags.
I have messaged yorkshiremanswife and have made enquiries again to lcc today

motherchuckinhen16 Fri 08-Jul-16 13:05:46

With our LA a lot of the school aged children go to school by taxi if there school is a long way away. Or you can drive and claim 45p a mile for any journey over 3 miles. The first 3 miles is included in the fostering allowance.
Our LA get lots of children to place of all different ages and even if you have a narrow age range that you are willing or able to foster then chAnces are you won't be empty for long. There are a lot of babies now, when we started there weren't so many, and always a big demand for sibling placements. Good luck with your fostering OP xx

Callywalls Fri 08-Jul-16 13:44:03

motherchuckinhen16 - thanks for the information, your LA sounds wonderful, which one is it? I don't mean to be nosy but from what I have gathered the differences between the local authorities are vast. There was no mention from Lancashire about taxis to take the children to school and I believe that you only get 45p per mile after the first 12 miles (I may be wrong about that). It is specifically a sibling group that we are interested in fostering. Thanks x

YorkshireMansWife Fri 08-Jul-16 14:11:28

Cally - You wouldn't get taxis if the school was a distance away unless it was a specialist school.
We get 0.45 pence per mile for journeys (not training) and you take off 6 mile every round trip, so if it was a school run it would be 12 miles per day that you could claim for. Saying then you went to a support group that evening you would then have to take 6 miles off that as well as a return journey.

Callywalls Fri 08-Jul-16 14:37:17

YorkshireMansWife - Thanks for that, I wondered why the SW didn't mention the taxis to me! I must seem really thick, it's just that there are so many agencies/la's offering and asking for different things it gets a bit confusing! Also, my nightmare is being asked to take one child to school in one area and another somewhere else miles away, as mentioned previously I am not the most confident driver. After approval, during the matching process do you get much say in how far you are able to drive the child to school? If you refuse a child on this basis do you think you would get offered another, nearer? Obviously, I realise that the most important thing is for the child to have continuity with school etc and its not all about how far I am able to drive them, but I want to be realistic. Once again, many thanks for your invaluable advice.

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