What is the difference between fostering with an Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) or with a Local Authority?
Local Authorities are ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of all children in public care. They need to find the best way of looking after these children to make sure that they receive the best possible standard of care.
IFAs such as CANW provide a fostering service to Local Authorities and we work in partnership with them. We have our own foster carers, social workers, specialist support workers and education staff who work hard to ensure that the needs of the carers and children are met to high standards and without delay.
No, it doesn’t matter if own or rent your home, or if you live in council or housing association accommodation so as long as your rent or mortgage payments are up to date, you have your landlord’s permission and it is of a clean standard. The important thing is that you are settled and not likely to leave at short notice and that you can offer a foster child or young person his or her own room.
Yes, and this must be available at the time of application. Part of the assessment takes into consideration your accommodation and if a spare bedroom is not available the assessment can not go ahead. If your child has gone off to University and you plan to use their bedroom, will there be enough room when they come home for holidays?
If you are supporting children under the age of 11, one carer must be at home full time. However for carers working with over 11’s, there is an option to work alongside fostering subject to certain criteria’s being met.
These include having support available or funding planned activities for before and after school, school holidays and during any periods of absence the child may have from school.
We regard all couples living together as partners in the fostering process so we would require that you both have the necessary checks and training and that both take part in the assessment process. Even if you are the main carer, anyone sharing your home will have some involvement in and influence on the fostering task. We will also need to carry out checks on all adult members of the household.
We discuss every placement with our carers and it’s their decision to accept a child into their home. We share as much information about the child or young person and their background as possible. However, sometimes children come into foster care with very little information, especially in an emergency situation. In these circumstances the professional team will work as quickly as possible to piece together information.
We have highly skilled staff who match children with the right foster family, but the decision to take a child in and look after them always rests with our carers.
Yes, before you are approved by the fostering panel, we will have agreed on the type of child who will fit in with your family. This includes the age, gender, ethnicity and religion of potential foster children.
We will also identify specific training with CANW to assist you in expanding your skills as a foster carer.
Some Local Authorities will allow this, especially for younger children. However at CANW, we will only place a child in a home where he or she will have their own bedroom at time of placement (unless they are a young sibling group and it is agreed it is in the best interest of the children to share).
Most people can foster, but when we consider applications we look closely at the following areas:
- Your legal and personal references
- Your ability to work in partnership with the agency and as part of a professional team
- Your family lifestyle
- Space in your home, including sleeping arrangements
- Your health and background
- Your parenting skills, attitude and personality, including any experience of caring for children
- Your ability to provide a caring and nurturing environment
Things that are less important to us are your age, marital status and employment status.
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