Why Choose Independent Fostering Agency AFA Fostering?

Being an independent fostering agency is vitally important to us.

A growing number of fostering agencies are owned by private equity companies with the sole aim of making money. This has never been our intention, and never will be.

Our aim is to provide committed, empathetic and knowledgeable foster parents to local authorities within East Anglia and the Midlands. We are absolutely committed to providing children who are not able to remain with their own family with an alternative foster family through an independent fostering agency.

We seek to recruit, train and support foster parents who can provide a loving home for children and young people in their local area.

Ultimately, we want to provide opportunities for children and young people to achieve their full potential and live happy and fulfilling lives.


Our experience stems right from the top

Our Directors, Nigel and Graeme, have more than 75 years’ experience in social work, fostering, family placement, and independent fostering agency work between them. They are passionate about ensuring that children in foster homes with AFA receive the highest possible standards of care.

Nigel Pickering

Nigel Pickering


The AFA mission of Quality Care with Integrity and Respect underpins my approach to supporting foster parents and providing homes for vulnerable young people. The relationships we build with our foster parents and the trust that develops between us is the key to successful working.

I have been a social worker since 1976. I have worked in a variety of settings including children’s homes, schools and childcare social work teams. Since 1993, I have worked for fostering services in both the public and the private sector.

In 2009, Graeme and I set up AFA so we could put everything we’ve learnt towards creating the right sort of independent fostering agency, with the children’s needs at its heart. Now we’re an established agency I believe the reasons we started in the first place are as valid and important today as they were back in 2009.

Graeme Duncombe

Graeme Duncombe


I firmly believe that every child and young person should have a good opportunity to make their way in life. Sadly, for some children, their own family circumstances have led to them being unable to be brought up within their family. I have seen children come from quite distressing circumstances and yet, through the care and dedication of foster parents, I have been privileged to see such children develop and grow into smashing people against the odds. That is why I am involved in ensuring, with my colleagues, that we provide the best possible circumstances for AFA foster parents and children.

I have over thirty years’ experience in social work, child protection and family placement work. I’ve worked as a senior manager in an independent fostering agency for a lengthy period. This experience has given me considerable insight into the issues facing children and families, and also the challenges faced by the professionals involved. I apply everything that I’ve learned over the years to keep AFA at the forefront of foster care.

The children’s welfare is top of our agenda, and always will be.

We’re dedicated to providing the highest standards of care.

Through our independent fostering agency, we work in close partnership with local authorities, professionals from statutory and voluntary organisations, regulatory bodies and, most importantly, foster parents.

We get to know both the children and our foster parents individually. This means we can carefully match children with the right foster parent. We are proud of the strong, supportive relationships that children develop with their foster families. Find out more about who makes a good foster parent.

We are with you every step of the way.

Our experienced team are on call any time of the day or night. They are there for help, advice, or just a listening ear.

Through our training and support, you will develop the skills and confidence to provide children with a stable and consistent environment.

Find out more about the support we provide.

Get in touch to find out more about fostering

Already a foster parent?

We’d love to hear from experienced foster parents too. Find out more about transferring fostering agencies.