ADVICE FOR CARERS
What’s it like transferring to Lika from another fostering agency?
At a glance
- The process of transferring to a new foster agency
- Victor’s experience transferring to Lika
- Why did you decide to transfer from your old fostering agency?
- Why did you choose to transfer to Lika?
- What was the transferring experience itself like?
- How has Lika been different to your old agency?
- What would you like carers to know about transferring to Lika?
Are you thinking about transferring to a new foster care agency?
It’s a common enough experience, even if you’ve had a long-term relationship with your current agency. One of Lika’s carers, for example, had been with her previous agency for 18 years when he decided it was time for a change.
There are lots of reasons you might want to transfer between foster care agencies. Perhaps you don’t feel you’re getting the support you need where you are, or another agency offers more interesting and more relevant training, or maybe your foster care agency is closing its doors and you have no choice but to move.
The decision to transfer or not, and where you go, is very much your own. But if you’re thinking about transferring, you probably have a few questions about it and you might even feel nervous about making the change.
The purpose of this article is to share the experience of a foster carer who transferred to Lika, so that if you’re thinking about joining us from your current agency, you have an idea of what that process was like. If you’re looking for general information about transferring agencies, please be aware that the experience may be different at other agencies.
Whatever the reason you want to move, the important thing is to know that you have the right to do so — even if you’re currently looking after young people and you’d like to take them with you.
The second most important thing to know is that the process is relatively standardised, with agencies bound to follow The Fostering Network’s protocols.
There are certain stages of the process you’ll need to go through. We have an infographic that spells all this out for you on our “. It details the process for those transferring with and without young people in their care. That page also has lots of good, general information about transferring.
But what’s it like transferring to Lika, specifically? We asked one of our carers, Victor, about his experience.
Victor came to us as no novice. He’s a school teacher and he’d been involved with foster care for nearly a decade (as part of the support network for a close friend) before becoming a foster carer himself in 2019. He transferred to Lika from his old agency, with two looked-after young people, in 2022.
Here’s what he had to say about his experience.
“I’m very conservative, I would say, so the idea of moving doesn’t come to me very easily,” Victor said. “But we were having a few difficulties with communication. Part of the problem was that, over two and a half years with the agency, I had maybe six or seven supervising social workers. There were times I had no supervising social worker.”
The major issue, Victor said, was a lack of support.
“I didn’t complain. I just got on with it, but I needed that additional support in order to deal with the issues we were having and to be able to work better.
“Now that I’ve gone through the (transfer) process with Lika, I can also see that there are so many areas of training that I was supposed to get with the (previous) agency that I did not get. The training was pretty basic compared to what we get at Lika.”
Victor began looking around for an agency that would meet his needs and expectations.
“I came across Lika more than a year before I actually decided to talk to Lika,” Victor said. “I think I saw an ad for the agency. I registered with them and Lika sends out newsletters occasionally, so I kept getting their emails and reading them.
“So, when it came to the point that I felt the best thing for me to do was to move, I checked out Lika, along with a couple of other agencies. I had experience and I was moving with two kids, so some agencies were even offering me financial incentives to choose them.
“But from the very first time I spoke to Lika, I was impressed. Jamie showed an interest in understanding what my experience had been like with my previous agency. If we had any differences, he wanted to know about them. He asked me all the right questions because he wanted to see what moving to Lika would be like for me, and how it would be different to where I was. I would consider these the right questions.
“I put all my cards on the table and he showed me he was more interested in finding a way that we could work together. I liked that very much.”
“It was OK; it was pleasant,” Victor said. “When it started I was given a timetable and the timetable was followed to the letter, so everything was done on time.
“Of course, it’s difficult to go through the assessment process again. There’s that bit of you that says, ‘I’ve done all this stuff before, why do I have to do it again?’ But they were very good and we have a good relationship. Everything, as far as I’m concerned, went very smoothly.”
As part of the transfer process, new Lika carers are given access to the same training as any other carer joining the agency. Lika is a therapeutic agency, so we have a different approach to care than some other agencies. We’re focused on making positive change in the lives of our young people. Victor joined other new recruits at our regular Skills to Foster training days.
“Lika is more open with their foster carers,” Victor said. “They know everything; they tell you everything that’s going on. They even tell you about the nature of the relationship or the contract between the agency and the local authority. They go into detail on these things. They really bring you on board.
“The other thing is they’re also very willing. If I experience the sort of problems I experienced before, Lika is there to get involved and smooth the situation or help resolve whatever issues are occurring.
“It’s a completely different experience.”
“The important thing is that Lika has a lot of respect for the foster carers and they see the foster carers as people,” he said. “They will essentially take you on board with the decisions they make in everything they do.
“That is very important for a foster carer, because if you find yourself in a situation where you seem to be taking orders from people, then it doesn’t work very well. But Lika listens to your point of view and takes it on board, so it’s a very good fostering experience.
“I think they have all the necessary tools to help you be a very successful foster carer. They help more than I expected. I have seen that they have so many tools in their toolbox to help make it a very successful fostering experience for you.”
If you’re in south or east London and you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, give the helpful team at Lika a call on 020 8667 2111. We’re here to answer all your questions.
We’re in the London boroughs of Croydon, Sutton, Bromley, Merton, Lambeth, Westminster, Wandsworth, Lewisham, Southwark, Islington, Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, City of London, Haringey, Newham, Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea.