At AFA we make sure we ‘match’ as carefully as possible.

What does this mean? Well, when a referral comes to us from a local authority we, the duty team, read the information they send with great care. This is a crucial first step to arranging placements that are right for the child and our foster carers.

Making the right match

Our focus is always on finding the right placement. We want the children we care for to feel safe and secure. We also want to make sure our foster carers have the right skills and experience to manage any traumas that a child may have experienced. This minimises the risk of a placement breakdown. This is something we want to avoid for the sake of both the children and their foster carers.

The child is very much at the heart of what we do. This means that if we, and the foster carer, have any concerns (no matter how small) that it is not the right placement, we will let the local authority know we haven’t got a match.

If we find a good match, referrals are discussed at great length with our Placement Managers (supervising social workers) and foster carers. If any questions come up, we go back to the local authority and ask for more information. If any doubts remain, we will not make a placement offer.

We can also look at vacancies across the agency, tapping into the local knowledge of workers in our East Anglian and Midlands offices. So, if a referral comes in from Derbyshire, we won’t just look in the Derby area to see if we have an available foster carer. If feasible and agreed with the referring agency, we might look at placing a child with one of our carers in Nottingham or, in some cases, further afield in Norfolk or Suffolk.

However, in the first instance we look to place children in their local community, so they can continue to have contact with all those who are important to them.

A foster agency that really cares

Some agencies adopt a ‘heads on beds’ mentality. That’s not the case at AFA. We would rather say ‘no’ to 10 potential placements that we feel won’t work, than make 10 placements which breakdown.

Our goal is for all the placements we make to become long-term, stable placements, where this is the care plan for the child or young person. We also have foster carers who can take emergency, respite and short-term placements. Our qualified and experienced social workers are committed to providing placements that last, so that children are happy, healthy and thrive!

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, whether you are making a first enquiry or you are already an approved carer and thinking of moving to another agency, then please get in touch. We pride ourselves on responding to all enquiries quickly and efficiently, aiming to contact you on the next working day. A member of our friendly team will arrange to meet you to discuss the joys and challenges of fostering, and answer any questions you might have.