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Positive fostering experiences in the North West?

(11 Posts)
newfostercarer Sat 06-Dec-14 16:40:53

Hi, we are new foster carers with a placement currently. My husband works and I am the main carer and do not work. We are approved for 2 short term placements (0-5), with a possibility to foster long-term.

We have had many problems with our agency and are thinking of transferring after this placement, but are struggling getting relevant information from LAs and IFAs we contacted in the NW, as most want to come see us first, which is not possible as theres so many, so we'd like to select 3 or 4 to see.

If you have positive overall experiences with your LA or IFA please can you share these and explain what it is you like? Especially if you care for the 0-5 age range smile

We'd like this to be a positive thread, so hopefully you can name your agency or LA, if not please PM me instead, as this would really be helpful. Thanks x

wonderpants Sat 06-Dec-14 17:17:21

I foster for a LA and I have found every placement and every social worker different. Some far more positive than others. What sort of problems are you experiencing?

newfostercarer Sun 07-Dec-14 02:36:48

Hi wonderpants, I don't really want to say too much about our many issues and seem negative... we are with a LA, which has a lot of children being fostered, mostly through IFAs and they've had a bad OFSTED report recently which is no surprise to us - our SSW is lovely but overstretched and not always able to support as much as we'd like and need. Our love for our foster child is the only reason keeping us going at the moment.
We are considering IFAs, Stockport LA, Oldham LA, Wigan LA and Warrington LA (mainly based on their good OFSTED reports).
We would mainly like to know about others caring for 0-5 year old foster children being happy with their LA or IFA to get a clearer idea of what we can do next. x

wonderpants Sun 07-Dec-14 06:52:30

I foster for one you mention. As I said, every placement is different. It is often down to the social worker and the legalities of the case. I would be wary of judging on just your first placement. Also, as far as I know, my LA is not recruiting 0-5 carers as there are plenty of us.

Caramelkate Sun 07-Dec-14 07:58:54

I am a foster carer in the North West. As far as I am aware, no one is recruiting 0-5a - our LA has people empty for 6 months now for this age range.
I think the first couple of years can be a really culture shock. Social services is a very different organisation to most! But I would say hand in there and as you get to grips with it, you will find ways if working that suit you better. Maybe try to get support from other foster carers? We have a mentoring scheme and are a very close group, and generally I only approach my SSW for specific things now, I get my day to day support from other carers.

Caramelkate Sun 07-Dec-14 10:25:25

The other thing I would say is that 0-5s will normally have 3-5 contacts in their home area each week, so you may want to look at your most local authorities. It is considered good practice to place within 30 mins if home except in rare circumstances.

newfostercarer Sun 07-Dec-14 18:44:03

Thank you smile we are not really judging based on our 3 placements so far as we know each can be different, but more on the issues we have and others too with organisational issues, training issues, refunds issues and poor allowances which mean we are losing money overall which we cannot afford. We have foster carer friends in our LA and a couple in other IFAs and LAs, and it seems better elsewhere but thought we's ask on here for more positive experiences. We are within 30-40 mins max drive from all the LA we are considering x

Gillian1980 Sun 07-Dec-14 22:59:38

Hiya,

If you know which IFAs your LA (or those close to you) contracts with the most then maybe focus on them? I doubt they would tell you who they use so maybe see what you can find out from other carers?

And I would expect any other LA or IFA to want to meet you prior to considering a transfer. It can be a lengthy and time consuming not to mention costly, so they would only consider it if you were right for them.

Some LAs and IFAs buy and sell form fs but many don't so you'd need to go through the assessment process again in that case.

I think the most you can hope for without a visit would be checking out the websites, asking for an info pack to be sent out and asking them about their transfer protocol.

CateringCalamities Tue 09-Dec-14 15:20:49

We foster in the NW, if you want any specific details ask away and I will do my best to answer them grin

CateringCalamities Tue 09-Dec-14 15:21:09

We foster in the NW, if you want any specific details ask away and I will do my best to answer them grin

newfostercarer Tue 16-Dec-14 11:25:15

Thank you Gillian and Calamites for the previous answers and sorry for the delay in replying, it's been a bit manic lately. We know of a couple of IFAs which have been positive so far and seem to have a contract with our LA. We have now had replies from a couple LAs we are leaning towards and which were happy to reply to our questions and send an info pack before taking it further, so that's a step forward. It will be a few months until we do anything about it but we are getting an idea of who we'll hopefully see for an initial discussion soon. smile

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