Fos­ter­ing agency praised by Of­sted

Of­sted praise im­pact of new man­ager Saima Arif at trust’s in­de­pen­dent fos­ter­ing agency

Windsor & Eton Express - - News - By David Lee davidl@baylis­me­ @Davidlee_BM

Of­sted in­spec­tors have praised the im­pact of the new reg­is­tered man­ager at an in­de­pen­dent fos­ter­ing agency run by Slough Chil­dren’s Ser­vices Trust.

The ed­u­ca­tion watch­dog car­ried out a mon­i­tor­ing visit of the trust’s fos­ter­ing ser­vice on May 22.

The agency re­ceived an ‘in­ad­e­quate’ rat­ing in April last year with in­spec­tors rais­ing con­cerns over plan­ning for child place­ments and a fail­ure to ap­point a man­ager to over­see the ser­vice.

But fol­low­ing the agency’s lat­est visit, car­ried out re­motely due to COVID-19 re­stric­tions, in­spec­tors com­mended the lead­er­ship of the ser­vice’s new reg­is­tered man­ager, Saima Arif.

The re­port, pub­lished on Fri­day, said: “Through her (Saima Arif) lead­er­ship, there has been a noticeable shift in the prac­tice, cul­ture and morale within the team.”

The re­port found that since join­ing the agency, Ms Arif has pro­vided a clear vi­sion for the ser­vice and worked hard to ad­dress pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied shor tfalls.

In­spec­tors high­lighted the new re­fer­rals and match­ing pro­cess at the agency, which has meant more thought­ful con­sid­er­a­tion is given to find­ing the right home for a child.

The agency’s train­ing pro­gramme has also been re­viewed with a clear pro­gramme now in place to give fos­ter car­ers the skills and train­ing they need.

The re­port said one fos­ter carer had re­ceived 23 vis­its in a year from su­per­vis­ing so­cial work­ers with the new ap­proach mak­ing car­ers ‘feel part of the agency’.

In­spec­tors iden­ti­fied a high turnover of prac­tice man­agers and staff sick­ness as a rea­son for fos­ter car­ers ‘feel­ing frus­trated’ due to con­tin­ual changes in re­la­tion­ships.

The re­port found agency staff have been used to fill the gaps left by de­part­ing staff mem­bers with se­nior man­agers ‘ac­tively re­cruit­ing’ to cre­ate a more sta­ble work­force.

The fos­ter­ing ser­vice has been told to en­sure it has enough suit­ably qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced peo­ple to safe­guard the health and wel­fare of chil­dren placed with fos­ter par­ents.

Saima said: “We were dis­ap­pointed not to have a full in­spec­tion due to COVID-19.

“How­ever, we wel­comed the op­por­tu­nity dur­ing the visit to show Of­sted how far the IFA has pro­gressed since its full in­spec­tion in April 2019 and the mon­i­tor­ing visit in Au­gust 2019.

“We are now look­ing to ex­tend our ser­vice as there is a still an ur­gent need for fos­ter car­ers in Slough.

“Our fos­ter car­ers play a vi­tal role in sup­port­ing vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren and in re­turn they re­ceive gen­er­ous pay­ments, ex­cel­lent train­ing and 24/7 sup­port.”

Saima Arif has been praised for boost­ing morale at an in­de­pen­dent fos­ter­ing agency run by Slough Chil­drens Ser­vices Trust.

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