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Choosing Between a Local Authority and an Independent Fostering Agency: Which is Best for You?

Choose between IFA or LA

Making the decision to become a foster carer is a life-changing experience, opening the door to unparalleled personal growth and extraordinary love. But once you’ve decided to take that step, you soon face another critical choice: Should you work with a local authority (LA) or an independent fostering agency (IFA)? Today, we’ll delve into the unique advantages and disadvantages of each, guiding you on the right path to nurturing a foster child’s life.

Local Authorities vs Independent Fostering Agencies: a Comparison

Both LAs and IFAs play an essential role in the intricate world of fostering. To help you determine which suits your needs the best, let’s consider three crucial factors: support, training, and financial allowances.


When it comes to support, fostering agencies like Fostering Hearts dedicate themselves to foster care, providing expertise and resources that LAs might struggle to deliver. This full-time focus ensures continued growth in knowledge and services for foster carers.

Unlike IFAs, LAs handle multiple aspects of social care and might not offer the same level of dedicated support. However, they do provide a higher continuity of placements, ensuring smoother transitions and experiences.


At Fostering Hearts, we offer extensive knowledge-base resources and comprehensive training programs to equip our foster carers with the necessary skills. While training could vary between LAs and IFAs, considering available training and support is essential. Be proactive and reach out to both LA and IFA representatives to learn about their specific training programs.

Financial Allowances

Historically, LAs prioritized their in-house foster carers when assigning children, ensuring stable financial allowances. However, IFAs have grown in prominence and tend to offer higher pay rates, such as those found on Greater London Fostering’s best-paid fostering agencies page. It’s wise to explore various options and compare financial allowances to provide the best possible care for the child and balance your own needs.

Making Your Decision

When choosing between fostering with an LA or an IFA, it’s crucial to examine:

  1. The quality of support provided.
  2. Their approach to handling initial inquiries and the application process.
  3. The involvement of the same social worker throughout the fostering journey.
  4. The scope of geographic coverage.
  5. Their approach to children with challenging behaviour or special needs.

You can learn more about these aspects in our IFA or LA comparison page.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the decision to foster with an LA or an IFA depends on your unique preferences and needs. At Fostering Hearts, we’re excited to help you embark on this special journey. If you have any more questions or need support, don’t hesitate to contact us, book a call back, or dive into the wealth of information on our fostering news blog.

Let us be part of your fostering journey. Start fostering today with Fostering Hearts, where love and care meet to create brighter futures.

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