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Agency fostering vs Local Authority fostering

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Before you start your fostering journey, it’s important to consider whether you want to register with a local authority or an independent agency, such as us (Nexus Fostering). Foster agencies like Nexus Fostering will work closely with local authorities to find suitable carers for children. However, while both routes are valuable and of course, they both provide a child in a vulnerable situation life-changing support, it is important to choose the right option for you. To help you make the right decision for yourself and your family, we will evaluate the key differences between local authority fostering and agency fostering.

To become a foster carer, you don’t need any specific qualifications.
What is Local Authority Fostering?

Local authority fostering is provided by the local council in your area. They are legally responsible for the safeguarding of all children in the care system. To apply to be a foster carer through your local authority, you will need to do this through the government website.

What is Private Agency Fostering?

Agency fostering is also known as independent or private agency fostering. Generally, fostering through private agencies is seen as more attractive, in terms of pay and conditions and through reputation. Private fostering can help find children with disabilities, specific religious beliefs, or particular needs suitable foster homes and is often quicker than through a local authority.

The Differences Between Private and Local Fostering?

There are some differences between private fostering and your local fostering agency including:

  • Allowances
  • Training
  • Support

At Nexus Fostering, a competitive allowance is awarded to our foster carers for their hard and valued work. We also offer extra payments for any festivities, birthdays, and holidays. When you become a foster carer, you will need to register as self-employed and file tax returns. Foster carers receive tax relief for every week you foster a child and have a tax-free allowance.

Through your local agency, carers will receive financial compensation for food, clothes, bills, and travel. Both local agencies and private fostering both can assist with daily expenses.
Traditionally, private fostering agencies can pay a little more.


To become a foster carer, you don’t need any specific qualifications. At Nexus Fostering, we ask that our carers have the enthusiasm to learn and attend our courses and support groups. Once you have begun fostering, the learning doesn’t stop, our training courses become more tailored to the specific needs of the child.

Training through local authorities can vary due to their budget and depending on how much they invest in their foster carers. Some local authorities do not have the resources or capacity to invest time.


Private fostering agencies, like Nexus Fostering, offer 24/7 support, 365 days a year. We also ensure that foster carers are partnered with a social worker who knows the foster child and the foster carers. The comprehensive and ongoing support includes supported phone calls and personal visits from your dedicated support worker. Experienced local staff are also on hand for support.

Fostering through your local authority the level of support is similar to training. While local authorities are stricken by budget and resources, they are still able to offer a level of support for their foster carers. Typically, however, private fostering agencies have more resources available to support foster parents.

What’s right for you?

Choosing between a private fostering agency and your local authority is a personal decision that has many factors to take into consideration. There are multiple scenarios to think about, including reputation, support, training, opportunities, and your location.

Nexus Fostering has been making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in care since 2002. We offer a multitude of foster placements across London, The Midlands, and East Anglia and are always there to offer support for our carers.

We hope this blog has been useful in helping you narrow down your search for using a private fostering agency or using your local authority. If you have any questions regarding Nexus Fostering and the amazing work we do here, then please get in touch with us today and one of our friendly team will be happy to help!


Fostering insights


  • Foster Carer
  • Advice

Date published

27 January 2022

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