Council or Agency - Whats the difference?
Posted: Tuesday 26th June 2018
What’s the difference between fostering for the local Council compared to fostering agencies?
I’ve spoken to many people who are bamboozled by the number of different organisations advertising for foster carers, and what’s the difference?!
Here are some local facts that might help you to understand the difference between fostering for the local Council compared to fostering agencies.
Placement Quantity and Frequency
In Flintshire between April 2017 and March 2018, 89% of local children needing foster care were placed with in-house local Council foster carers. Only 11% of the children were placed by the Council with outside fostering agencies.
Placement age range
In Flintshire between April 2017 and March 2018, the majority children placed with external fostering agencies involved young people aged 10+ with challenging behaviour or a parent and child together placement.
Local Council foster carers will usually foster children who attend school within that County. Children will usually remain at their current school and foster carers will be expected to do the school run. Fostering agencies may cover a wider area and carers may be expected to attend meetings and provide transport to the child’s home area further away.
Image : Flintshire Tourism
In Flintshire, we will usually provide all of the equipment that you require for the child, for example cots, high chairs, beds etc. Check what your fostering service expects you to buy, as the price of a pushchair, car seat and cot all adds up.
Local Council fostering teams work alongside the child’s social worker, within the same organisation (often in the same building), with the same management team who make the decisions for the child. Fostering agencies are an external 3rd party with its own management structure.
Flintshire Fostering Team and Children's Social Work Teams, based in Flint
Payments to local Council foster carers are broken down into categories, rather than one total figure. This is a requirement by Welsh Government to display fostering payments in this way. The "allowance" is the money to be spent on the child. The carer’s "fee" is the payment to the carer. Local Councils also pay an amount for the child’s birthday, annual holiday and religious celebration (eg. Christmas). Local Council foster carers can develop their fostering career gradually with increasing payment levels.
I hope this has given you some questions to ask when choosing to foster with the local Council, with your neighbouring Council, charity or an independent fostering agency.