Fostering Agencies vs Local Authorities

Compass Fostering is one of the leading independent providers.

What is the difference between fostering agencies and local authorities?

When you decide to learn more about foster care you will have two choices; foster with the local authority or with an independent fostering agency. But what’s the difference?

All children that come into the care system are the legal responsibility of the local authority (councils). They will initially try to find a placement with one of their foster carers. They will then look to fostering agencies like Compass when they feel that they have a foster family which is more suitable to the child or young person. This could be because the child has complex needs that their carers aren’t able to offer, or it could be that they don’t have foster carers that live in the right area.

As Compass are a nationwide agency that offers industry-leading training, we are often able to provide placements where local authorities are not.

Although we work alongside local authorities, there are a few differences between your LA and other IFA’s like Compass Fostering:

  • Training and support that Compass offers is something that many local authorities are not able to match. Our training is based around the REACH model, which aims to equip foster carers to build resilience, provide stability and offer a child-centred approach. As a Compass foster carer you’ll be supported with all the skills and training you need to really make a difference to children’s lives. Many of our carers choose to access our specialist training, gaining professional expertise.
  • Fostering allowances will vary between local authorities and even different agencies, but the fees agencies offer are often higher than those at local authorities. On top of fees paid for looking after a child, with Compass you’ll also have opportunities to earn more through becoming a Carer Recruitment Ambassador.
  • The age of the children and young people that we place are usually higher than they are with local authorities. LA’s often find it harder to place older children, so these children are often place with fostering agencies.

If you are uncertain about whether you should foster or which agency to choose, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. Our highly experienced team of specialists would be happy to talk through any concerns with you.


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  • You must have a spare room in order to foster.