Independent support can be vital for foster carers in times of allegations or other disputes they may be involved in. The Fostering Network can provide independent support to foster carers via their fostering service through a variety of routes, including our unique and long-established advice and mediation service in England, and independent support in England and Wales.
Delivering a service that meets your needs
Independent support services can be provided for your foster carers in a variety of ways.
In England, this is through our advice and mediation and independent support services.
In Wales, this is through our independent support service.
In Scotland, Fosterline Scotland mainly offers a telephone-based advice and mediation service. However, additional support for foster carers can be negotiated.
In Northern Ireland, independent support is provided through our advice and Information service. We offer regular ongoing support over the phone for the duration of an investigation. We can also assist foster carers with written responses to fostering panel reports and can attend fostering panels with them.
Independent support services in England and Wales
Please note that if you are a foster carer, you cannot get independent support from us directly. You must contact your fostering service to see if they have an advice and mediation contract with us to provide this support. If they do not, you can always ask them to spot purchase independent support on your behalf. Find out if your fostering service has an advice and mediation service from us.
If you are a foster carer and being investigated over allegations, please call our helplines for support and advice.
Advice and mediation – contract service (England)
The Fostering Network’s long-established advice and mediation service provides independent support to foster carers on behalf of both local authorities and independent fostering providers across England.
The contract service provides the most comprehensive, individually-tailored method of support. All foster carers registered with the fostering service can contact their named advice and mediation worker directly, who can provide them with a broad range of support services.
Service level agreement – preferred provider
We can be the preferred provider of independent support services to foster carers registered with an individual local authority or independent fostering provider. We guarantee the provision of a worker as and when they are required.
Spot purchase independent support (England and Wales)
To receive spot purchase independent support, the fostering service refers the foster carer directly to us. Once funding has been agreed with the service, an independent social worker is allocated to the case and will make direct contact with the foster carer to offer support, advice, advocacy or mediation.
Bespoke packages (England and Wales)
We also offer bespoke packages to local authorities and independent fostering providers. These are specifically commissioned to meet the needs of the fostering service.
Fostering services that are members of The Fostering Network receive a generous discount on the price of support packages.