Lucy Stevens - 18th October 2019
I am already a foster carer but am not happy with my fostering provider
Foster carers need a lot of support from their fostering provider in order to confidently and successfully carry out the enormous task we ask of them. As a fostering agency, we do not pursue existing foster carers, however we are sometimes approached by carers who are looking to transfer foster agencies.
By far the most common reason people tell us they want to transfer foster agencies is that they do not feel well supported by their current provider. In these circumstances, we feel it is really important that foster carers make the right choices about who to transfer to. In addition to this, foster carers need to know what they can expect and what the obligations of the fostering providers are.
Transfer of foster agencies: The process at a glance
- Do your research – find out who your local providers are
- Meet prospective foster agencies and ask to speak to some of their carers
- Communicate your intention to transfer to your existing agency
- Attend transfer of foster agency protocol meeting
- Agree a transfer completion date with your new agency
- Transfer should be completed between 1 and 3 months depending on whether or not you are caring for children currently and in line with the timings that have been agreed according to your notice period.
How do I choose which fostering provider to go to?
If you are feeling poorly supported by your current fostering provider, you need reassurance that the new agency will provide the best service. Therefore, we have given you tips to help you get it right if you want to transfer foster agencies:
- Make a list of the fostering providers in your area. The Fostering Network has a facility that will enable you to see local providers
- Contact each agency and make initial phone or email contact
- If you like the sound of them from this first contact, arrange a face to face visit
- Note down what is important to you as a foster carer and ask the agency how they will respond to your needs
- Ask them if they can put you in touch with one or more of their carers so that you can ask them their experiences of the agency
What do I tell my current fostering provider?
Once you have made the decision to transfer foster agencies, you need to write to them to inform them of your intention to transfer. It is worth noting that you are not handing your notice in at this stage.
You are not allowed to be a registered carer with more than one fostering provider at the same time. Equally if you resign before you have transferred, you risk being deregistered as a foster carer. Therefore, we make sure we correctly advise you along the way. Usually we will give you a panel date and advise you to hand your notice in to coincide with the panel paperwork all being signed off.
Eastern Fostering Services will advise you of each step you need to take and when. We will provide you with the correct legal wording and ensure your protection. Moreover we will ensure that we do things according to protocol.
The Fostering Network have produced a comprehensive guide to the Transfer Protocol which we would suggest you read.
What responsibilities do agencies have towards me and the child I’m fostering?
If you have a child in placement with you, you can transfer foster agency without losing your child(ren). A protocol meeting will take place to agree timescales and any practical actions that need to take place. Present will be you, the Local Authority, your current fostering provider and the provider to whom you are transferring. The Local Authority will want to know that the agency you are moving to will be able to support you and that they will not compromise the care of the child.
The provider you will be moving from has a responsibility to share your information with your chosen provider. We will ask them for your original form F and other documentation submitted at the time of your approval with them. In addition to this, we will ask for your annual reviews.
Your new provider has a responsibility to ensure the continuity of care for the child. Additionally, they will need to ensure that they meet the timeframes you have agreed.
What about my fostering allowance?
Your new fostering provider will do their best to match the payment you have been receiving for the child you are fostering. This is because the Local Authority will not change the amount they are paying for your care of the child. You might discuss this at the protocol meeting. However, the detail you will cover in conversation between you and your new fostering provider.
How long will it take to transfer?
The time it takes to transfer will depend on how quickly your current agency provides information to the new agency and whether you have children in placement with you. Typically, however, we would expect to complete the process in between 1 to 3 months.
Rather than starting the fostering assessment from scratch, we will do an update. This will focus on what has happened since your original approval. It will take into account any major changes to your life circumstances and your experiences of fostering.
What do carers who have transferred to us have to say?
“We transferred to Eastern Fostering Services because we felt our old agency wasn’t advocating for us or the children we care for. We didn’t take the decision lightly and tried to make it work with our old agency. Sadly, to no avail. We are so glad that we made the decision to move. Eastern Fostering Services have given us such great support and have not been afraid to fight our corner in difficult discussions. They have taken the time to understand our needs and those of the children we foster.”
They have taken the time to understand our needs and those of the children we foster
“Our agency shut one of their local offices but still expected us to travel a long distance for training. Our support fell away and we were left feeling isolated and unsupported. Since moving to Eastern Fostering Services, we have felt part of a close community of carers and have been supported in many tricky situations. We have successfully cared for some lovely children and are looking forward to welcoming more children very soon.”
we have felt part of a close community of carers and have been supported in many tricky situations
Find out more about what our carers have to say about us.
I want to transfer to Eastern Fostering Services. What should I do?
If you’d like to speak to us about transferring, you can call us on 01206 299775 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can messsage us on the website at www.easternfosteringservices.com
We hold frequent events and coffee mornings so it is worth checking out our facebook events page for more information.