Transfer from an IFA

Are you fostering for an Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) but living in or close to Somerset?

Whoever you foster for, we want to thank you and encourage you to continue to foster, but we would also encourage you to consider fostering with Somerset County Council, given the excellent fostering offer we have available.

  • Regular placements
    We try to place children with our own Local Authority carers before looking at independent agencies, which means foster carers are likely to have regular placements. 
  • Fostering with us means you are helping local children in your area, stay local.
    The children we place are ‘our’ children. We have a commitment to ensuring we provide sufficient good foster homes for each of them.  An Independent Fostering Network survey in 2015 revealed that children placed with local authorities were placed on average 11 miles from their birth family home; children placed with IFA’s were on average placed at least twice as far away. We want to keep children close to their homes, and with carers that we know and support where possible.
  • We are a ‘not for profit’ fostering service.
    Every single penny of (your) taxpayer’s money is spent on delivering a good service to Somerset children and/or foster carers. Many years ago, most IFA’s were also ‘not for profit’, but nowadays many are limited companies.
  • Our payments are competitive
    Many foster carers who have transferred to us from IFA’s have been surprised to find that they could be financially better off with us. After approval, all foster carers receive not just the age-linked allowance but also a fee, which for experienced carers can rise to in excess of £200 per week per child. Our specialist schemes such as High Need and Parent & Child fostering, can offer payments commensurate with the rates paid by IFA’s when allowances and fees are combined. We also pay all your fostering-related mileage, and retainer fees between placements on some specialist schemes, so you will have a regular income whilst you are a registered foster carer.
  • Local training & excellent support
    We know that whilst important, finance is not everything. We provide excellent local training, support and social groups, including regular social activities for birth children of foster carers and a welcoming community where new carers can receive support from a foster care ‘buddy’.
  • Discounts and rewards with My Staff Shop
    All Somerset County Council foster carers have access to a huge range of local and national deals and discounts via a 'My Staff Shop' card

I’m an existing carer with another agency. What’s involved when I switch to Somerset?

We know that being assessed as a foster carer is an onerous process, and the thought of going through another assessment is understandably not particularly attractive, but our aim is to make the process as smooth as possible. We strive to protect the welfare of children while allowing carers the freedom to switch.

We will obtain from your existing agency a copy of your form F which we will need to update along with several checks, however we will only update sufficiently to satisfy ourselves and our foster panel of your suitability and strengths. We will always invite you to attend our 'skills to foster' course should you wish, but provided you have completed the course and kept your training updated, it's unlikely we would insist on attendance.

In short, we would aim to complete any transfer in four months, during which time you will continue to be approved by your existing agency.

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