By Charlotte Brydon, Marketing Officer
Making the decision to pursue a career in fostering is one that takes a lot of thought. Once you’ve decided to enquire about the role, the next step is finding the agency that’s right for you.
So, what are the top things to consider when looking at agencies?
1) Are they clear about the support they offer?
Ask about the support the agency offers. How long have the staff team been in place? Is the agency happy to provide you with current foster carer details so you can get a direct overview of life at the agency first-hand?
Team Fostering ensures that foster carers are supported by local staff, with a low staff turnover and with out of hours’ workers getting to know all foster carers. In our recruitment process we offer you contact details of some of our current foster carers, so you can gain an honest overview of the support at Team directly from them. You can read more about our support, fees and benefits here.
2) Read their Ofsted reports
Most agencies will share their Ofsted reports with you on their websites. If they don’t, you will be able to locate reports yourself on Ofsted’s website. Read them in detail, recognise the positive comments and consider how Ofsted perceive the agency as a whole, what local authority social workers have said about their staff and how foster carers report on life with the agency.
Team Fostering was rated Oustanding (North East, 2016) and Good (Yorkshire and East Midlands, 2018), and our Ofsted reports are available to read on our website here. We’re very proud of them, and we encourage you to read them if you’re considering our agency.
3) Look at their social media pages
Current foster carers likely follow their agency’s social media accounts. Does it seem like the agency operates with a true sense of community? Has its current foster carers left Facebook reviews or comments on posts? Are pictures of staff visible or does everything look a little bit like a collage of royalty-free photos?
4) Read between the lines
Is their website upfront about the types of fostering on offer? Do they explain fees and allowances in a clear and honest fashion?
Our fees and allowances are available on our website and we have a whole page dedicated to the types of children and young people we work with (click here to view). We are regularly adding to our website to ensure that all prospective foster carers are provided with a transparent overview of the agency. New pages currently being worked on include ‘The History of Team Fostering,’ 'Our Relationship with Local Authorities' and 'A Day in the Life of a Foster Carer'.
5) Consider how important it is to you that the agency operates in an ethical way
Many prospective foster carers might not know that there are some agencies that make an enormous profit from placing children in care.
Before I worked in this sector, I assumed all fostering agencies would be non-profit, which isn't the case. Luckily, I work here at Team Fostering, a truly ethical not-for-profit agency that invests all surplus into putting children’s futures first. Our staff and foster carers value this ethical approach to fostering immensely, and I’m so proud to be part of an agency like ours. If you believe that giving children the best start in life is more important than profit, you’re far better off approaching a not-for-profit agency. These agencies are able to offer the fees, support and training that for-profit agencies do, and far more! Read more about our support by clicking here.
6) What is your gut instinct telling you?
You’ll know within minutes of looking at a website, a social media channel or an article whether you think an agency is putting children’s futures first.
Speak with the agency on the phone and consider the way their staff speak to you. Are they quick at answering your queries? Are they polite? Fostering is an amazing role and it’s important that, if you start a fostering journey, you do it with an agency that you’d like to call home.
Team Fostering is an independent, not-for-profit fostering agency operating across the North East, Yorkshire and East Midlands.
You can enquire with us about becoming a foster carer in the following ways:
- Complete our online enquiry form here
- Call our Recruitment Administrator, Sam, on 0800 292 2003
- Email us via firstname.lastname@example.org