Fostering is an incredible opportunity to give children and young people the love, stability and family environment that they need to thrive. As a Local Authority it is our responsibility to find foster placements for all children and young people from Aberdeen that need them. In many cases we have been working closely with them for some time so know the children and young people and their families well. We will have worked closely with nurseries, schools and health professionals, everyone who is part of their support system. By keeping children and young people in the Aberdeen area we hope to continue that support, with you becoming an important member of the team. By keeping them close this can also help to give them the best possible chances of returning home, or to other family members.
Independent Fostering Agencies (IFA’S)
Our first priority is to use our own Aberdeen City Council carers. We have an amazing team of skilled, nurturing and motivated foster carers who we work closely with every day, but we need to increase this number. It is only when we are unable to use our carers that we approach Independent Fostering Agencies. Often this means that children and young people are placed outwith Aberdeen, which can be pose challenges for them and for their families, in particular in relation to maintaining contact.
We have seen a number of IFA carers transfer over to us and they tell us this is for a number of different reasons:
Frequency of placements
Our carers rarely have to wait for long periods for placements as we are constantly responding to the need for temporary, permanent and respite foster placements. We work hard to make sure that we can get our matching right to ensure that when a child is placed they do not have to move again until they can return to their families or their permanent placement is found.
You will have your own social worker who will ensure that you and your family are fully supported and have access to the training that you need. We will be able to work closely with a child’s social worker as well as any support that they need.
We provide various support groups, evening drop ins and events throughout the year for fostering families to meet and socialize.
We also have an exceptional training program which is based on trauma informed practice and we have staff trained in Theraplay who have supported carers.
Not working within a profit making business model
Many of the carers who transfer to us did not understand the differences between a local authority and an Independent Fostering Agency, when the business and profit making element of Independent Fostering Agencies have become clearer this has made many carers feel uncomfortable and they have decided to explore working with the local authority. While carers for Independent Fostering Agencies have competitive financial packages, what they charge Local Authorities is much greater, having more of a burden on the Authority.