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Advice & Guides
Food for Thought

Private Fostering Arrangements: Are They Worth It for Foster Carers?

When it comes to fostering, many people are familiar with the traditional route involving local authorities and foster care agencies. However, a lesser-known option, known as private fostering, can sometimes be tempting for certain families. If you’ve been approached to become a private foster carer, you might be exploring what this entails and whether this is the right path for you.

But what exactly is private fostering, and how does it differ from the services provided by private foster care agencies like Compass Fostering? Let’s dive into these questions, exploring the nuances of private fostering arrangements as well as the consequences of embarking on this journey.

What is Private Fostering?

As the name suggests, private fostering is a private arrangement in which a child under 16 (under 18 if they have a disability) is cared for by someone who is neither a parent nor a close relative for a period of 28 days or more. This arrangement is made between the child’s parents and the private foster carer, often as a result of illness, significant work commitments or other personal circumstances. However, in spite of its private nature, this type of fostering is also subject to strict oversight by the local authority.

Private Fostering Regulations

Private fostering comes with its own set of responsibilities and complexities. According to private fostering regulations in the UK, for instance, you must notify the local authority at least six weeks before the arrangement begins, or immediately if it’s already in place. The local authority will then assess the suitability of the private foster carer in addition to that of their current home environment. They do so by conducting regular checks and visits to guarantee the child’s safety and well-being.

Private Fostering Guidance

The government provides detailed private fostering guidance to ensure all parties understand their responsibilities. This includes the requirement for local authorities to visit the child within seven days of being notified and subsequently every six weeks throughout the first year, as well as every 12 weeks thereafter. They also offer support and advice to both private foster carers and parents, ensuring that the child’s needs are consistently met throughout the arrangement.

Challenges of Private Fostering

While private fostering can offer a flexible solution for parents and children, it also comes with significant challenges. This is because as a private foster carer, you are responsible for meeting all regulatory requirements, ensuring the child’s safety, and providing appropriate care without the structured support available to agency carers. The added administrative burden, potential lack of professional support, and emotional and logistical difficulties can oftentimes become incredibly daunting.

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Fostering agencies also offer financial benefits.

Why Choose A Fostering Agency Like Compass Fostering

Given these challenges, training to become a foster carer with a reputable agency like Compass Fostering may be a more secure and beneficial option. Unlike private arrangements, fostering agencies provide:

Comprehensive training

Your training should cover everything from managing challenging behaviours to understanding the legal aspects of fostering. This is done to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge that will enable you to provide high-quality care.

Financial support

Fostering agencies provide financial support that go beyond the costs associated with caring for a child. This helps ease your financial worries and allows you to focus on your invaluable work.

Additional help

Particularly as a foster carer with Compass, you will also gain access to 24/7 wrap-around support. This means that you are never alone in your fostering journey, as we provide assistance whenever you need. In addition, many fostering agencies like Compass offer practical support such as respite care, educational resources, as well as life-enhancing therapeutic services that are available to support your personal well-being.

Community and networking

Finally, joining a fostering agency like Compass Fostering means becoming part of a community of carers. You can share your experiences, seek advice and build a network of supportive peers who understand the rewards and challenges of fostering.

Are Private Fostering Arrangements Worth It?

While private fostering arrangements might seem like a straightforward option, they also come with additional responsibilities and a number of potential challenges. By opting to become a foster carer with Compass instead, you gain access to professional training, comprehensive support and a dedicated community of passionate foster carers. This not only helps you provide exceptional care, but ensures a more rewarding and sustainable experience.