I was saddened to hear about a couple of examples recently where foster carers have resigned from fostering and then applied to a different agency after their resignation period expired. This was because they were not aware of the ability to transfer between agencies and had not been advised of the option by anyone they spoke to. Most, unfortunately, in one example this also meant a placement for a child ended unnecessarily.
The transfer of carers between agencies is a well-established practice within all countries in the UK, with voluntary protocols and procedures for agencies and local authorities to follow in order to prevent placement moves for children and young people and to support as smooth a transfer for foster carers as possible. There is some debate currently about whether the introduction of a ‘foster carer register’ may further reduce the bureaucracy involved when carers transfer and make it much more straightforward to move between agencies.
The idea that being ‘registered’ would be like having any other professional registration and be the ‘passport’ to prove foster carers are approved and suitable to foster, without having to undergo an assessment with the receiving (new) agency. Whatever your thoughts and ideas are on this topic and anything else to do with the social care of our children, I would encourage you to become involved in the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, which has been underway for several months. Currently, the review is in its ‘Call for Ideas’ stage which is everyone’s opportunity to share ideas and solutions. You can submit your thoughts and support young people to do the same if they wish to, at https://childrenssocialcare.independent-review.uk/call-for-ideas/ before 5pm on December 15th 2021. You can also join some interesting webinars and see the work of the review so far.
Going back to if you are considering leaving fostering or transferring agencies, I would encourage you to talk to your current service about any particular issues you are experiencing which may be making you reconsider whether to continue to foster at this time, and don’t forget, FosterTalk are always here to support you and give impartial and practical advice and signposting regarding all aspects of fostering when you need it.