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How to Switch Fostering Agencies?

One question we regularly get asked, is from foster carer’s who are interested in switching fostering agencies to join Beacon. 

Switching fostering agencies is not as difficult as you may expect as it is important that foster carers have the option to move fostering agency or change from their local authority to an independent fostering agency. We set out here the considerations and what is involved.

The first step is considering your motivation and reasons. Why do you want to switch fostering agencies and move? This can be down to a range of reasons including:

· Access to improved foster training and courses

· Being more local to your fostering agency

· Improved financial support

· Higher other levels of support – for example, therapeutic intervention

· Having a period without any placement for an extended time

· Wishing to be at a fostering agency with a personal friend or contact

· Other professional reasons

We can explore these reasons with you and make sure you are looking to move for good reasons and that you will benefit overall. Beacon Fostering prides itself on our level of support and exceeding expectations. We would be confident that we can provide an enhanced level of support through 1:1 engagement, our Beacon Sporting Chance initiative, therapeutic intervention, focused training and competitive fostering payments. We would also highlight that it is absolutely key to focus on the best outcomes and support for the children and young persons alongside yourselves.

First step and initial visit

The switch and transfer starts with your initial enquiry and contact. Our team member would respond quickly and be in contact to discuss your interest, cover the process, application and other questions. Following your initial visit, if you then complete a fostering application form as any applicants would. This can be speeded up with an online application process.

Checks and assessment process

Your checks and assessment process starts following your application form being shared and completed. This includes an allocated assessor meeting with you to cover your assessment to be presented to panel. We have experienced assessors that have worked with foster carers that have switched agency before. It can be quicker overall as a process because you will understand fostering compared to a new foster carer. Your approval terms will be an area to discuss together and preferences.

Your checks and references are completed in full and there are none to be excluded because you are fostering already. Your existing agency or local authority would be contacted for a reference. It is also important you share your “intent” with your current fostering agency or local authority on moving.

Moving without any placements

If you have no children in placement, this does not bring any extra steps for the process. If you have had a recent unplanned endings or other challenging experience, this maybe an area to explore as part of your assessment process, whilst maintaining confidentiality.

You may continue to be open for matching for new placements and you would therefore want to have an understanding of the extra steps.

Moving with children and young persons in placement

If you have children and young persons with you, there is a key step for each individual called a “transfer protocol” meeting. This involves meeting with the placing Local Authority (for each child or young person placed), the existing agency or local authority social worker, Beacon Fostering’s social worker and foster carers. This is to cover the care planning area, documentation and ensure the best welfare and outcomes for the child or young person. If you have three placements from three different placing local authorities, there would be three transfer protocol meetings. If you had three children from the one placing authority, there would only be one protocol meeting. Beacon Fostering would work with the placing local authority and existing agency or local authority to help prioritise the meetings and best compliance.

It also important to discuss the children and young persons at your assessment, their ongoing support, any specific training you may benefit from and other considerations. We will also discuss your foster carer payments and other support areas.

Presentation to panel and approval

When your assessment and checks are completed, you would attend panel to meet Beacon Fostering’s panel and discuss your application and transfer. This is as would be expected and your assessor would discuss panel ahead of this with you.

Following panel, there would be the recommendation shared with the Agency Decision Maker. This individual makes the decision on your approval with 7 days from panel. At the date of decision, you would then provide 28 days notice to your existing fostering provider or local authority. At the end of this period, you have then moved to Beacon Fostering and it would be welcome to the Beacon Fostering family! This completes your switching fostering agencies and begins your direct support from that date.

Steps after switching

Following your approval, we would have already planned ahead and be ready to effect key areas including:

· Your welcome to Beacon Fostering

· Your induction process

· Meeting your new social worker

· Reviewing and planning your own development plan and training

· Sharing training dates and support group dates

· Sharing activity dates for children activities

· Sharing key information on safeguarding, out of hours and other support

· Access to our IT systems for your fostering records and carer login

· Updating your foster carer profile

· Discussing your matching considerations (if you have no placements)

For switching agencies, please ask us about your process and we can easily meet up or call you to discuss this.

Click the link to find out more about why you should transfer to Beacon Fostering –> https://beaconfostering.com/why-transfer-to-beacon/