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Local Authority vs. Independent Fostering Agency: What’s the Difference?

Type ‘fostering’ into a Google search and the top results will be to local authority or government websites.

However, independent fostering agencies (IFAs) – agencies like Perpetual – also fulfil an important role, working in conjunction with local authorities to place children in loving, nurturing environments and working together to refine and develop the child’s care plan.

And not just because local authorities on their own don’t have enough foster carers to look after all the children taken into care. It’s also due to the fact that children often have specialist needs and require particular skillsets – those developed by IFAs like us – to give them the right support.

Whether you’re a new to foster care or an existing carer considering transferring, read on to learn about what you’ll get when you foster with Perpetual.

Benefit from our community spirit and round-the-clock support

When you join the Perpetual community, we make a promise to you. We tell you that we’ll be with you every step of the way. And we stand by our pledge.

Fostering is a wonderfully rewarding career, but we know that there are times that you’ll feel challenged or unsure of the best course of action. When you foster with us, you never have to cope on your own.

  • Get support from an experienced carer with our buddy and mentoring scheme
  • Your supervising social worker delivers guidance, advice and reassurance
  • Contact a senior social worker by telephone, 24/7, whenever you need help or support
  • Get 2 weeks’ paid respite every year, and regular breaks at other times
  • Share your experiences with other carers at our monthly fostering forums

Our community has an open, supportive spirit and is one of the most successful in the UK

Nurture and develop your talent with our training

Regardless of whether you carry out your training with us or with your local authority, you’ll go through the same approval process. However, we provide additional support throughout and assist with your professional development ongoing.

  • When you start the process of becoming a foster carer, you take the brilliant 3-day The Skills to Foster™training course, run by The Fostering Network
  • However, if you need additional training before going before the approval panel, we can arrange a bespoke programme for you
  • Post approval, you and your social working create a development plan, and we help with any relevant training to enhance your skills
  • The more skills and experience you gain, the higher the payment you’re eligible for

Discover generous reward payments in addition to weekly allowance

All foster carers receive weekly payments. While these payments are complex, they include an allowance for the expense of bringing up the child, as well as an additional reward payment.

The first part of the payment is a fee set by the government, paid to all foster carers. However, the second payment varies, depending on:

  • Your skills and experience
  • Who you foster with

While local authority payments vary, you’ll generally receive more generous payments when you foster through an IFA like Perpetual. What’s more, you’ll have the peace of mind and confidence that comes from the comprehensive support we provide.

Make the transfer seamless for you and the fostered child

If you’re already a carer and thinking about transferring, we recognise just what a big decision it is. We’re here for you at every stage, ensuring that everything goes smoothly for you, and that the child in your care is unaffected.

We follow The Fostering Network’s official Transfer of Foster Carers Protocol (read more about this here). Its primary goal is to ensure continuity for the child, and to make the transfer as fast as possible.

Ultimately – whether you’re starting your journey or transferring from elsewhere – we understand that every day is different and bring its own challenges. Whatever your background, Perpetual delivers the emotional and the financial support you need to thrive.

FREE Fostering Guides

Download our free ebooks to learn more about becoming a foster carer. View Fostering Guides


During your lunch break, or the time you spend checking Facebook, another child will come into care. Right now, that child is thinking: 'Who cares?' More Videos
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