Why choose us?

10 reasons to foster with Cumbria Fostering

We are a local authority fostering service with extensive experience in approving and supporting foster carers across the county.

1 Help to keep children in Cumbria 

We try to keep children close to their friends, family and schools to maintain their familiar links. We strive to keep all Cumbrian children living within Cumbria.

2 Priority placements 

You will get first priority for placements of children of all ages (within your approved age range); and if you are a former Independent Agency carer transferring to us, you can be fast tracked through the approval process. 

3 Placement choice 

We will find the best match for you and your family as we are responsible for all the children in care across Cumbria. Fostering with the Local Authority means that you will not experience long periods of time without a placement, unless you choose to have a break. 

4 Cumbria County Council is a non-profit making organisation 

“To be honest, we picked the council because we pay our taxes into the council and want to make sure that they’re well spent. Going through an Independent Agency would only mean paying a middle man, and we’d rather every penny got spent on the children” (Kevin, Foster carer for Cumbria) 

5 Feel part of a community 

Feel part of a wider community with monthly local support groups, foster carer associations run by our foster carers and regular social activities. We hold events throughout the year such as our Long Service Awards, the Children in Care Council Awards and Christmas parties. You can also influence policy development through our steering groups and forums. 

6 High level of support available in your local area. 

We offer a county wide service with offices based throughout the county: Kendal, Barrow, Carlisle and Workington. You will be allocated a Fostering Social Worker based at one of these offices nearest to you and will benefit from close links with the children’s teams as they are based in the same offices as our Fostering Teams. We offer therapeutic support through our Emotional Wellbeing Practitioners who are managed by the Fostering Service. We offer an out of hour’s helpline and we have extended outreach teams who can visit out of hours in an emergency. Our experienced foster carers are on hand to offer support through a buddying and mentoring scheme. 

7 We offer excellent, ongoing training 

Ongoing training programme and monthly support groups in your local area. These are flexible to fit around your lifestyle and can be tailored to meet your needs. You can also contribute to and influence the training on offer. We offer specific therapeutic courses such as Therapeutic crisis intervention (TCI) and Fostering changes at regular intervals throughout the year. We also have regular professional speakers and trainers, such as Margot Sunderland and Dan Hughes, who are experts in child mental health and attachment. 

8 We have lots of different schemes, so you can choose what types of placements will suit your family. 

Short Term, Long term / permanence, Approved Support Care (also known as Respite), Short Breaks for children with disabilities (Shared Care), Homestays / Staying put scheme - children don’t automatically have to leave you when they turn 18. You can continue to support them through these schemes and we will continue to support you with a dedicated worker of your own. We will advise you on which schemes may be best for you. There is more information about the different schemes later in this pack. 

9 You are more likely to be considered for a permanent placement of a Cumbrian child if you are a foster carer with the local authority. 

“I first began fostering as a short term carer, looking after primary school age children who’d come from neglected backgrounds. It quickly became evident that the children we were caring for would not be returning to their birth families in the short term and myself and my husband began to care for children longer term.” (Foster carer for Cumbria)

10 Become part of Cumbria’s biggest family!

You’ll be amazed at just how many Cumbria foster carers live near you. Did you also know that as a Foster carer for Cumbria, your wider family can also help to support you if they want to, so that children do not have to go to strangers if you need to have a break?

Get in touch

If you're thinking about fostering then we'd love to help.

Local Authority fostering and Independent Fostering Agencies (IFAs)

All children in care are 'looked after' by their own local authority (in Cumbria that's through Cumbria Fostering working for Cumberland Council and Westmorland and Furness Council) and it's our responsibility as the local authority fostering service to find suitable homes for them. 

Most children looked after by the local authority are in foster care with one of our own carers. However, if the council cannot find a suitable foster placement we may have to place the child through an Independent Fostering Agency (IFA).

IFAs also recruit foster carers and then make them available to councils, for this service they charge the council a fee.  By having more foster carers available in-house it means the council can avoid incurring these additional fees. More in-house foster carers also means we can increase the likelihood that children can be fostered in Cumbria, rather than having to be placed outside the county (which as a general rule we try to avoid because of the potential impact on a child of removing them from their local networks).

We pride ourselves on the fact that we offer training and support from our local offices here in Cumbria that is second to none and our full focus is always on matching the right carer for the right child. Our priority is always to find Cumbrian families for Cumbrian children. And as a local authority foster carer you can also be confident you will have regular placements throughout the year if you want them.

If you are considering fostering via an IFA get in touch for a chat with us before you make your final decision.

If you are currently fostering with an IFA and are thinking about switching to your local council please get in touch and we'll be happy to discuss how you can smoothly make the move.