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LA or Foster Agency options please(19 Posts)
I'm looking to foster but I'm stuck as to what's the better option.
Local authority or Foster agency? I'm confused on the tiers and allowances for LA. I want to make sure the financial side is ok as I will be giving up work. Also we want children younger then our own and maybe siblings. Lots to think about.
It depends on the
Tier la offer you. With
La you are paid a weekly rate and then children on top with an inf you are paid for each child and paid the same again if they are
Siblings or you take a second child
If you don't know how the payment works for your local authority ask so you can compare. As you say you are giving up work and must be able to afford to do so. However please also ask about support and training. A high level of both of these would be my main criteria for a decision
My partner works from home 3 days a week and my job has really flexible hours. I can work when the kids are at school. But we aren't well off by any Means. I would like to be able to foster instead of work but worry LA allowances wouldn't allow that to happen. I want to be able to be an active apprentice and take the kids out a lot.
Our LA has different schemes and then progression payments. But all are different. Don't be afraid to ask them for payment details. It might even be on the web site.
If you are quite picky with age range you could be in for a long wait with an IFA as LA carers are offered them first, money is important but if you have no placement then you will be no better off. When i started fostering i too compared, yes the money is better to start off with a IFA but i earn just as much now with LA, but we do get the kids first.
I feel like LA is the way to go at the moment.
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Ifa have Better support packages of therapy ime. Action for children and fca seem to have a clinical
Psychologist on tap. La doesn't. La probably mire flexible though
I am a newly approved foster carer with an agency, only because when I enquired with the LA the woman told me that a small agency would probably give me more support because of my age (23) and the agency have been really nice and have supported me through my assessment journey and are continuing with courses for me before I take a placement. It is entirely up to you though. Good luck with your jouney! Xx
Agency do often give more support, but also you'd be more likely to end up with the most challenging placements. That's not necessarily a bad thing, these children need carers....but it can be hard!
We've had the first visit from our LA yesterday. They only pay £125 to £165 per week per child. their argument is that they only want carers who are in it altruistically and not financially. This is B******t. We love children and want to give them a loving home, but compare this with agencies who pay from £360 per week there is no contest. £125 barely supports the child whereas that extra £235 will pay for the things that most kids want in order to keep up with their mates at school.ie iphones;epads;bikes - you name it. We have visits due from two agencies over the next week or so we will get a better idea of what to is available after that.
I'd ask the agencies how many referrals they've had in the past month, for young people in the age bracket etc that you would be wanting.
Also about their tier positions with the LAs in their area.
It's all well and good that they pay more but if they're not getting the referrals then you'll be without a placement and no pay.
It's a really tricky one as you could easily go months without being matched and no income from fostering. Will you be relying on the income from fostering or will you have other income in between placements?
I'm with a ifa and went to panel 3 weeks ago. Had 2 referrals with in days. Now have a lovely lovely little man with us for the next 6 months at the least. Where I am they are inundated with referrals ATM apparently
We have fostered with LA for years. We have recently switched to IFA because we found very little support from LA, and were ready to throw the towel in. There is no comparison from a support point of view. IFA all the way.
I foster with an IFA and have done for two years. Bottom line - money makes the world go round, we all have bills to pay! Others raised a valid point that IFA's take the referrals that the LA can't place so LA foster carers would be ahead of you for placements, meaning you would be sitting without an income - potentially.
My advice would be to think very carefully about the age you want to foster, I often come across women who only want to foster babies - for many reasons and at the end of the day its a personal choice which has to fit with your lifestyle and routine. Sitting waiting for a baby needing a foster home really increases the amount of time you could be without a placement especially with IFA (LA will find a baby easier to place).
We have two teenagers who arrived two weeks after we were approved at panel. They were supposed to be here three weeks and never left, and will be here until they decide otherwise!
We had a visit from FCA last week and I must say we were most impressed. They DID say, however, that we should seriously consider the age group 11 upwards since there would be a better chance of regular placements. As for the money side, well, £360 to £450 is much better than £125 to £150. However, we are still I bit worried about the degree of trauma that this age group suffer as a result of their lives being disrupted for so many years . Alister84 mentioned two teenagers. How are you getting along with them? I've heard some horror stories.
My two teenagers? horrible, smelly, drama ridden, back chatting, never full, constantly growing teenagers? they are brilliant!
They are brother and sister aged 13 & 16. When we went to panel we asked to be approved for 8 years and up as didn't feel our skills were best placed to deal with screaming babies (I love them really).
I think now two years in and having gone to support groups (my IFA makes me) and talked with other carers we have been "lucky" with the YP we have. They have experienced trauma (wouldn't be in care if they hadn't) but to our knowledge nothing other general neglect due to birth families personal challenges, when friends of the kids find out they are in care they are generally surprised - outwardly they are smart, popular and folk generally enjoy their company. This is now however.....in the beginning i was called to school every week, one week, every day! But so what? that was then this is now, yes its tough sometimes but my advice would be to take the horror stories with a pinch of salt, kids are in care because of NOTHING they have done personally so what if they lash out, call you every horrible name under the sun, demand to phone social work to be moved, its not really about them hateing you its bigger than you - its their lives at the end of the day and they were dealt a bad hand ........help them beat the house!
P.s don't think for one minute I don't know about kids causing damage to houses personal objects or having "sticky fingers". In the beginning help them make the right choices, don't leave cash lying around and make sure your insurance is excellent!
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