Perhaps you are only thinking about joining the foster care system as a caregiver, or maybe you already have sufficient experience with the system. It may surprise you to know that even experienced foster parents often fail to realise what they should or should not be expecting from their foster care agency. What they may have long held as a standard might very well fall short in comparison to the actual standards maintained dutifully by quality fostering agencies.
As for beginners and interested parties, the information is even more crucial for obvious reasons. They can be misled much more easily into joining the wrong agency. Let’s look at some of the things that every foster parent should be looking for, before signing up with a foster care agency.
They Must Have a Strong, Reputable Local Presence
Gaining a good reputation while maintaining an active local presence is not easy for any foster care agency, so those that manage it are generally the best options. For example, if you visit fosterplus.co.uk, you will find that the agency has a strong, reputable local presence in Glasgow, with high praise from the Care Inspectorate. Wherever you might be located, that is the kind of reputation which you should look for in local fostering agencies.
The Allowance Should be Competitive
Most of the allowance granted to foster parents is in the form of tax-free payments and that applies to payments made by all registered foster/social care agencies in the UK. However, foster care agencies do not all pay their care providers equally. How much the agency will pay depends on several factors and some of them are not even under their control.
Nevertheless, you must not sign up with any foster care agency that fails to offer allowances which can at least be considered competitive locally. Don’t just go by the minimum standards specified by the government, but do a bit of research on your own to find out the average fostering allowances offered by agencies in your locality.
Since this is not a job where money can be the primary goal, you don’t have to sign up with an agency that offers the highest fostering allowance. Nevertheless, any fostering agency that you do sign up with must be willing to pay generously enough for the remunerations to be competitive.
There Are Training Programmes
This is most important for newcomers as every new foster parent must receive adequate training before they are handed their first assignment. However, experienced foster caregivers should also have the opportunity to further enhance their fostering skills by joining more advanced training programmes that are designed for the more difficult jobs.
If you do have experience in specialist foster care though, then you should be looking for agencies that can offer you assignments more suited to those skills. It will allow you to put your skills and experience to better use, not to mention the more adequate allowances.
Finally, it should go without saying that any foster care agency worth even considering must be registered and licensed as such. Verifying those credentials online is super easy these days since you will find all details on the Care Inspectorate’s website.