Local authorities (councils) are legally responsible for the safeguarding and outcomes of all children in the care system, who are sometimes known as looked after children.
FCA is an independent fostering agency and we work very closely with local authorities to find suitable foster carers for children within their care when they are unable to place a child with one of their own approved foster carers.
This could be because they have a shortage of registered foster carers or because the child has particularly complex needs, which at FCA we are specially equipped to deal with.
We have a strong infrastructure in each region across the country to support local authorities and have a team of specialists to support our foster carers and looked after children, this ranges from general advice and guidance to an award winning holiday cottage facility for relaxation.
Although we work alongside the local authorities, there are four key differences between fostering with your local authority and fostering with independent fostering agencies like FCA:
- The age of the children needing fostering through private agencies are generally higher than those available with local authorities. This is because older children are more difficult for local authorities to place.
- Foster carer allowances with FCA and other private fostering agencies are often significantly higher than those of local authorities.
- Levels of support vary wildly between local authorities and private fostering agencies, with local authorities not offering the same level of support. Here at FCA, we have an unrivalled support and training package, designed with our foster carers in mind. We have a team of social and support workers, therapists and educational support workers, and also offer great respite opportunities and career progression.
- We offer a therapeutic approach that provides looked after children with the additional, intensive support they need to thrive. In 2002, we created our Team Parenting® model of foster care, which focuses on the foster carer’s ability to effect change for children and young people by offering safe, stable and therapeutic foster placements. We provide our carers with ongoing access to therapists and therapeutic training programmes that provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to help children thrive.
While we are a privately-owned foster care agency, we differ from many other privately-funded independent agencies in one clear and distinctive way: we are still owned and run by the people who founded us over 20 years ago with a vision to make a positive and lasting difference to children, families and communities.
If you would like more information about the difference between local authority and private fostering or would like to discuss fostering with us, please call 0800 434 6000. One of our dedicated fostering advisors will be happy to help.
Alternatively, you can complete our short enquiry form in the left hand column of this page and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.