There are many qualities that define a strong fostering agency. Factors like high levels of support from professional social workers, and well-organised training regimes are invaluable. Foster carers need to be able to rely on their agency for so many things, and it is this relationship that contributes towards successful retention. So, what should Scottish carers look for in a private agency? This is explored below.
The Level of Support
How much support is on offer is a key indicator of whether a foster carer will be sufficiently scaffolded. There are lots of reasons for this level of intervention being a necessary part of the fostering arrangement — firstly, for accountability across the board to maintain the best interests and well-being of the foster child at all times. Further to this, there are safeguarding reasons, training accessibility, general queries, and essential services like opening the door to counseling or medical care. The support on offer has to be there whenever it is needed so that foster carers are able to do their job properly.
Given that fostering is a job above anything else, remuneration is another consideration when picking an agency. How much you receive for a placement varies depending on the establishment, but it should always be treated as income. Certain placement types are higher paid than others, and it is up to you to figure out how you want to train and which option looks the best.
Reliability is non-negotiable. The agency should have a brand presence, proven through a functional and user-friendly website like fcascotland.co.uk. They should also be open to sharing stories of past carers or connecting potential fosterers with people currently doing the job so they gain an authentic picture of how things are handled. It is easy to ascertain reliability if you look at the big picture and how all the pieces fit together.
It’s also worth looking into the values of the agency. These are always represented differently, but it is wise to dive into what the different places represent and how they hold up their vision. While foster agencies primarily focus on securing safe placements for foster children that need them, there are bound to be other objectives within that scope. It is important to ensure that your values align with what’s on offer, otherwise, you may not be able to grow in the way you want to.
Great Training Opportunities
Finally, always ask about what training there is. The best kind of agency offers and even mandates regular, ongoing training in core areas like attachment and safeguarding. These are the courses that enable you to develop your professional skills and empower you to deliver the best, safest carer within the relationship model. You will feel more secure in your ability to care, and it is always interesting to learn the latest and greatest methods.
Searching for a Scottish foster agency should be treated as a job. Observe where the strengths and weaknesses are, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and start a conversation about how things would move forward.