Finding an agency to begin your fostering journey can be hard work, with so many options available, it is difficult to know what is right for you. You need to make sure that you find an agency that fits what you are looking for, with different ones offering different pay, support, training and conditions. So, here are a few pieces of advice to get you on the right track to choosing your perfect agency!
As there are so many options out there, you’ll need to do as much research as you can about the different options, and what they can offer you. The internet is a great place to start, or even better, if you have contacts who have fostered, they will be able to offer you honest advice about their experiences. In terms of restricting the large amount of options, staying with a local agency, or one who has a local office, may be a good option as you are close in case of any emergency. The best bit of advice here is to look for references from existing foster parents or people who have worked with the company in the past to get an honest opinion.
Don’t Rush Into It
Once you have made contact with an agency, don’t stop there. You may be really impressed with the first agency you come across, but you should keep looking as the next few you come across may be even better. This is a big commitment, so avoid rushing into anything.
Arrange a Visit
After you feel you have picked out the best option for you, the best option is to meet with the agency to ask some important questions that help to make the decision. Some of these questions might include:
What support is provided?
Can you take breaks and holidays?
What kind of training do you offer?
Do you have strong links with local authorities?
Once you have the answer to these questions, take it away and have a think about all the information you have. Compare this to the notes you have from other agencies and then come to a decision. You need to make sure you receive a great amount of support and care throughout this change of lifestyle, so bare that in mind.
Transferring Fostering Agencies
If you are already a foster carer, but are unhappy with the agency you are with, transferring fostering agencies is always an option. You need to be completely comfortable, and changing to an agency that suits you better is really important if you feel that your current agency is not what you were looking for.
Overall, the best piece of advice would be to follow your gut instinct. If you do find yourself in a situation where you are unhappy, speak to your agency, and if no changes are made, transferring fostering agencies may be the best route for you. Make sure you don’t limit yourself to a set location, just because you’re from Leeds, it doesn’t mean you can’t look to Liverpool fostering agencies if you haven’t been successful in your area. Hopefully this article will have helped you learn everything you need to know to get started on your new career or family!