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In October 2018 we were rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted for the third consecutive time since 2011!
This puts us amongst only a handful of fostering providers nationwide. It also tells you that when we say we will support you, we do!
Check back to see the 18/19 report when it is published, but for now you can read the full 15/16 Ofsted report here.
Here are some of the things Ofsted said about us in the report:
Children and young people live in a healthy environment and the service promotes their physical, emotional and social well-being. A senior member of the service is the 'health ambassador' who takes the lead on ensuring health care issues remain high on the agency's agenda for continual improvement.
Children and young people's emotional and psychological well-being is a high priority for the agency in acknowledgement of the high degree of trauma of most looked after children have endured. The service expertly supports this aspect of children and young people's development through the work of the agency's psychologist.
Young people benefit from the agency's clear and comprehensive safeguarding and child protection policies. A designated lead for safeguarding is soon to be in place at all satellite offices. This is to ensure the protection of young people.
Foster carers receive clear written guidance and excellent training to assist them to keep children from harm and abuse. Recently; managers, staff and foster carers have shifted the focus of safeguarding to explore current concerning trends such as missing from care and child sexual exploitation. Where these concerns are evident, staff and foster carers take prompt and effective action to enhance the young people's safety. Young people consistently say they feel safe with their families and feel loved and secure.
Children and young people make exceptional progress from their starting points. They experience a wide range of opportunities to support and help them maximise their achievements and promote general development. This is a clear strength of the service. Staff have excellent knowledge and insight of individual children and young people and their progress. Where progress is slow, staff and foster carers are proactive in taking remedial action. This is particularly evident in relation to children and young people's health and education.
The fostering service celebrates academic and more general achievements and this acts as an incentive to promote education and other attainment. School-aged children very regularly attend school, while older children are keenly engaged in further education or vocational studies. Some progress to go on to university. Children and young people benefit from the service's creative initiatives that encourage children and young people to enjoy learning. For example, the service's book club is a programme that facilitates children and young people to receive free books. Social events and other activities routinely include the exchange of books, most selected by children and young people themselves.
The fostering service values and places high priority on the views and opinions of children and young people. Managers and staff proactively seek to obtain the wishes and feelings of young people in an effort to inform individual care planning and shape the future of the service. Staff routinely obtain young people's feelings and wishes during interviews conducted during supervisory visits. Other avenues include consultation via foster carers' reviewing process and statutory Looked After children's reviews. Since the last inspection, however, the fostering service has further enhanced its consultation efforts with children and young people. The initiative is both innovative and effective.
The fostering service's preparation of older young people for adulthood is effective and is also commended. Young people benefit from the input of their foster carers and staff of the service that help prepare them to manage their lives more independently. The 'preparation for independence' ambassador, takes the lead on developing policies and initiatives to support young people's transition to adulthood. This recently includes developing the Care Leaver's Charter, researching relevant research and practice materials to share with young people, producing newsletter ideas, developing and supporting the agency's Staying Put policies and practice. Young people clearly benefit from having designated staff work on their behalf to enhance their transition to adulthood. Some very vulnerable young people make remarkable progress as they continue to live with their former foster carers through the agency's Staying Put scheme.
The leadership and management of the fostering service is exceptional. Leaders and managers are inspirational and highly visible within the organisation. This allows them good opportunity to meet with all stakeholders, including children, young people, foster carers and their families to hear their ideas first-hand about the effectiveness of the service. Managers welcome and encourage feedback and they routinely act upon suggestions to enhance further the quality of the fostering service.
The staff team in the majority of the offices have worked for the fostering service for a significant length of time. Despite the agency's considerable size, most staff members spoken with, describe the agency as having a 'family' feel. This is similar to comments made by foster carers.
This fostering service is outstanding. It is very well organised, and is highly functional. The service has a clear vision for its developmental path and demonstrates a strong, continued commitment to ensuring the outcomes for children and young people are positive. The service has ambitious yet realistic plans in place to support its efforts to continue to offer exceptional quality care, ensuring the experiences and progress of children and young people continue to be exceptional.