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Independent fostering agency (IFA)

The role of an independent fostering agency is to find suitable foster carers for looked after children. The agency will do this on behalf of children’s services.

Independent fostering agencies recruit, assess and approve foster carers. They provide them with ongoing support and training. Each foster carer will have a supervising social worker.

Independent agencies are not part of local authority children’s services. They also do not recruit kinship foster carers, only children’s services do this.

Many agencies can provide foster carers who are experienced in a particular type of care. For example, foster carers who are trained to support children with a particular disability.

All independent fostering agencies must register with Ofsted. They work to the same National Minimum Standards and legal requirements as local authority fostering services.

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