1 1 CHILDREN S PLACEMENTS SERVICE FOSTERING STATEMENT OF PURPOSE The Statement of Purpose relates to the Fostering Services provided by Bexley Children s Placement Service and is a requirement under the Fostering Services Regulations The Statement of Purpose should be reviewed, updated and modified where necessary at least annually, and then formally agreed by the Corporate Parenting Committee of the London Borough of Bexley. 1. Statement and Aims of the Service Our purpose is to provide good quality alternative care for children and young people that reflects and values individual needs and differences and promotes positive outcomes considered essential to health and wellbeing, both in childhood and later life. The 5 identified outcomes which are supported by Fostering Service, National Minimum Standards (NMS) are: Promoting good health and wellbeing (NMS 6 & 10) Safeguarding Children (NMS 4 & 5) Helping Children achieve well and enjoy what they do (NMS 3, 7, 8 & 10) Helping Children make a positive contribution (NMS 1, 2,7,9,11) Achieving economic well-being.( NMS 12) The London Borough of Bexley s Fostering Service aims to provide a pool of good quality carers, reflecting diverse needs within the community. The service aims to offer a comprehensive recruitment, training, supervision and support package to foster carers. It also aims to minimise potential risks by ensuring appropriate checks and reviews are in place and quality assurance monitored through a comprehensive complaints process including LADO processes where appropriate. 2. Objectives 1. To provide a range of good quality alternative carers, reflecting the diverse needs within the community. 2. To offer a comprehensive recruitment, training, supervision, and support package to carers. 3. To provide a service that ensures the safety and well-being of children looked after by London Borough of Bexley. 4. To minimise potential risks by ensuring appropriate checks and reviews are in place and that quality assurance is monitored through audit of files and a comprehensive complaints process. 5. To ensure that decisions are made with the best interests of the child being paramount. 6. To ensure that Looked After Children are not disadvantaged, to promote positive outcomes, and to equip young people for independence. 7. To work in partnership with foster carers, children and young people, families and other professionals involved in the care of children and young people. 8. To encourage foster carers and other professionals to provide quality life story work material for children. 9. To maintain placement stability and minimise disruption for the child/young person. 10. To review the placement services with partner agencies to develop commissioning of services where applicable and improve the range, number and diversity of placements available for children who are looked after in Bexley. 11 To have in place a recruitment and publicity strategy, which focuses on the recruitment of local carers who are able to meet the diverse needs of looked after children in the
2 2 borough. This supports the Sufficiency Strategy who outlines the placement need of our looked after children and aims to enable children to remain in placements within the locality. 12. Foster carers will work to support children and young people in their care understand the looked after child Pledge and ensure that there is promotion of the Bexley Child in Care Council. 3. Management Structure A Head of Service for Placements and Specialist Services has overall responsibility for the Children s Placement Service, of which the fostering service is part. The Head of Service is also responsible for the Adoption Service. The Head of Service reports to the Deputy Director for Children s Social Care. The service consists of 3 Team Managers; Fostering, Placements and an Adoption Manager, who are supervised by the Head of Service. The Team manager (Fostering support) supervises two senior social worker and four social workers. In the fostering assessment team (FRAT), one assistant team manager, Two senior social workers and three social workers, who have responsibility for assessment of foster carers, and special guardians. The service also has a Team Leader for Business Support administrators and 3 administrative assistants. Two administrative assistants are dedicated to servicing the fostering panel. The Team Leader for Business Support is responsible to the Administration Manager. 4. Services Provided The service is structured to provide a seamless service for any child needing a placement. The service maintains close working relationships with the rest of the Children s Social Care services to ensure a positive working partnership to promote and enhance the wellbeing of children placed. The services comprise: Emergency Fostering Short term Fostering Bridging Placements Long term Fostering Parent and child placements Independent Fostering Agency Placements Residential Agency Placements Connected Person Foster Care Respite/short term Care Shared Care Family Finding Adoption Post Adoption Adoption Support Services Special Guardianship Intermediary Services Birth Record Counselling Placements Duty service
3 3 In relation to Fostering Services these incorporate. - Recruitment and assessment of foster carers - Preparatory Fostering Network Skills to Foster training - Training all carers in the DfE Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care - Initial Visits - Prospective Foster Carer Report (with competencies.) - Prospective Foster Carer Report (for specific child), Connected Person carers - Approval of foster carers & Family & Friends/Connected person carers - Supervision and Support of foster carers - Supervision and Support of Family & Friends/Connected Person carers - 'Back up' support scheme for foster carers - Support Groups - Post approval training - Foster care reviews - Work with the Pan London Fostering Contract - Work with the Pan London Residential Contract - Attendance at Pan London Consortium meetings - Attending/Chairing Permanency Planning Meetings for Looked After Children - Matching (for permanency) - Chairing Introduction Planning meetings - Involvement in Disruption meetings - Chairing Professional Meetings - Inter-Agency meetings (for permanency) - London Borough of Bexley website to provide information about the Children s Placement Services. - Investigation and monitoring of complaints - Managing complaints and allegations - Supporting Bexley Foster Carers Association - Maintaining a register of all other Local Authority looked after children residing in Bexley - Monitoring looked after children s mental health through issuing strength and difficulty questionnaires to carers and sharing this information with the child care teams and Bexley Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (BCAMHS) - Completing social service check requests received from other local authorities and agencies where they have applied to foster/work with children. - Contributing to the planning and investigation into allegations. - Promoting the Foster Carers Charter. 4.1 Placements Duty Service The Children s Placements Service (CPS) operates a Duty Service from 9:00 am to 5:00pm weekdays. This is managed by the Placements Team Manager and staffed by placements team workers. Their aim is to match children with in house foster carers, and where necessary identify external agency placements. The service provides oversight and risk assessment in conjunction with the social work teams for all Out of Borough placements. The placements team consists of a Team Manager, a principle social worker, a contracts officer and a social work assistant. The Placements Team manager ensures that placement requests are appropriate and that other options with family and friends have been explored. There is a fortnightly multi-disciplinary Placements Panel where children who are in need of accommodation
4 4 or who have been accommodated in an emergency are presented for discussion of their need. Placement duty also provides an additional support service to foster carers who are unable to gain immediate access to their supervising social worker and other professionals requiring advice on fostering matters. Placements team workers attend planning and professionals meetings regarding children needing accommodation as required, particularly when an externally commissioned placement is being considered. Bexley has membership of London Care Services, which coordinates a consortium of London Boroughs, registers providers who meet the required quality standards, and negotiates fees. When an agency placement is identified, Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) reports are obtained. Bexley seeks to place children only in resources where there is a grade of good or above. Following a referral the duty social worker will discuss with the child s social worker the needs of the child and what sort of placement is required. It is important for the social worker to give as much information about the child as possible, e.g. their race, culture, language, religion, any issues relating to health and disability, and they submit a referral addressing these issues. The duty service makes every effort to meet the child s placement needs, so that the placement will be safe and as far as possible, provides a similar environment for the child. There will be liaison between the senior social worker for in house matching to establish whatever suitable match is available before approaching agency care providers. Placements Panel considers agency providers to ensure appropriate matching and care planning. In identifying a suitable placement, care is taken to maintain consistency in education provision and support attainment at Key Stages of the National Curriculum. 4.2 Marketing Advertising and Promotion Marketing - Advertising & Promotion The service works closely with the corporate centre- Communications, Graphics and Website teams with regards to advertising and promotion of the fostering service in order to attract new enquiries. There are advertisements regularly in the local media and regular feature and articles in the local press and other local publications to raise general awareness of fostering and the on-going need for us to recruit new foster carers. JC Decaux boards are used around the borough to advertise and raise the profile of the service. New ways to generate interest and new initiatives piloted in the last year include the following:- buses- this campaign was launched in the financial year 2015/16. and updating the fostering website so that it provides full up to date, accurate information that is presented in an appealing and user friendly way and it is quick and easy for people to register an initial interest. In addition there are 4 talking head films (which can all be viewed on the website) of our foster carers talking about their experiences of fostering for Bexley and encouraging people to find out more. This now includes online applications Facebook, twitter) to enhance recruitment of Bexley foster carer recruitment
5 5 new enquiries. During fostering fortnight in June 2015 there were fostering stands in several supermarkets across the borough and a stand at a local leisure centre. This produced 39 new enquiries. In July 2015 a stand at the Dartford festival, and Lark in the Park, held in Sidcup. produced 15 new enquiries and stands at local community events are generating new enquires which will be further promoted throughout 2015/16. We are also link in with several organisations that support the national drive to recruit more foster carers e.g. BAAF, London Councils Network, Fostering Network, New Family Social and Fosterline. Links to these organisations are on our website and vice versa. All forms of promotion and advertising have produced some level of interest. The service has analysed the impact of different forms of advertising, what is most cost effective and what produces good quality leads. This information will be used to help design further recruitment strategy for future recruitment in 2015/ Recruitment The Service develops an annual recruitment strategy to reflect the changing needs of the Looked After Children population. This addresses issues relating to targeted recruitment of foster carers, especially those from black and minority ethnic communities, or those who can care for a disabled child a child with more complex needs and teenagers. i Enquiries by people wishing to become foster carers or adopters usually come through our dedicated free phone line. ii. The free phone is monitored by the admin team on a daily basis and enquirers are contacted within the same day (where possible or the following working day) by a member of the administration team who will then record the enquirer s details and send out an information pack. Enquirers are contacted by fostering staff within a week of receiving the information pack which includes an initial questionnaire form which to is completed and returned. iii. The completed questionnaires are screened and prioritised by the recruitment team to ensure the enquirer meets the minimum criteria. When this has been confirmed the forms will then be passed back to the admin team. iv. The enquirer is sent an invitation to the next open information evening and this is recorded on the fostering enquiries/applications tracking system. v. When the enquirer has attended the information evening they are given a feedback form to complete and return which will inform us if they wish to proceed with fostering. vi. When the feedback form is returned and they have indicated they would like to continue with the process the internal social service check will be completed by the admin team. They will then be allocated a social worker to make an initial visit. vii. The purpose of the initial visit is to explain the tasks and process of becoming a foster carer. If all parties are happy to continue the applicants are then asked to complete an application, with consent to all statutory checks. viii. If all parties are happy after the visit to continue, the applicants are invited to the next Skills to Foster training group. This forms part of the assessment process. Statutory checks and references are sent out and recorded by the admin team and systems are in place to ensure that checks are followed up by the admin team if a response has not
6 6 been received within 8 weeks. This process can take up to 8 weeks to enable CRB checks to be completed and returned. ix A qualified social worker is allocated to carry out the Form F assessment. 4.4 Assessment, Supervision, Training and Review of Foster Carers The Children s Placements Service is responsible for undertaking assessments of prospective foster carer applicants. Foster carer placements vary in length and complexity, and can be for an overnight stay while the parent is hospitalised, to caring for a child where they have been removed for their own safety with an assessment being undertaken on their future care. The Service provides preparation training through the Fostering Network Skills to Foster course to all applicants prior to undergoing an assessment, to give applicants further information and to complement the assessment process. After successful completion of the training course and Stage 1 assessment (including the collection of a range of checks and references) applicants may progress to Stage 2 of the assessment process. The service aims to complete Stage 2 assessments within 3-5 months. Once an applicant has been assessed, their case is presented to the Fostering Panel. Connected Persons fostering assessments are also presented to the Fostering Panel. On approval, carers are given an information pack, a Good Practice Guide and sign an Agency Placement Agreement. The Panel makes a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker (Director, Children s Social Care) as to the suitability to foster and the approval status. The Agency Decision Maker makes a final decision as to the recommendation made by the Panel and the foster carer is notified of the outcome verbally within 2 working days and in writing within 5 working days. Where applicants are not approved, the applicants are informed in writing. They are informed of their right to make representations on the matter to the panel within 28 days. They are also informed of their right to appeal to the Independent Review Mechanism. 4.5 Support to Foster Carers All foster carers are given membership of Fostering Network, and the accompanying insurance, giving them access to help lines including legal advice. Foster carers are provided with a Fostering Handbook, and are required to sign the Foster Carers Agreement, which is a contractual agreement between them and the service. Carers are allocated a supervising social worker who is responsible for visiting them at least monthly to provide support, monitoring, advice and training. The supervising social worker undertakes at least one unannounced visit annually and also carries out a comprehensive annual review of the foster carer.
7 7 Supervising social workers attend Placement Planning meetings, and will attend Child Care Reviews, Child Protection Case conferences and any other relevant professional meetings. Emergency Out of Hours social work support is provided through the Department's Emergency Duty Team. All foster carers receive a core allowance to meet the needs of the child. Foster carers who meet the criteria of being approved to care for any child will receive a reward element. Carers are also able to claim for additional expenses, for example car mileage exceeding the standard allowance. Carers available for emergency out of hours placements receive a separate payment for this. All foster carers receive equipment required to care for the child or young person, including a bed, bedding and safety equipment. The virtual school are responsible for the allocation of computers to help support and encourage Bexley s Looked After Children in their educational achievement. Savings of 5.40 per week (2014/15 figure) are taken at source from the fostering allowance and retained and saved by the local authority for the looked after child until the child is discharged from care. There is one support group for foster carers held each month. Bexley has a Head Teacher of a Virtual School for Looked After Children. The Head teacher is responsible for supporting schools in the education of Looked After Children. The virtual school seek to promote learning opportunities through appropriate use of the pupil premium; monitoring looked after children and their educational performance through the Personal Education Plan (PEP), preventing exclusion and enabling a smooth transition between schools. Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) are based within the Safeguarding Children Service. The IRO service works in close partnership with other agencies, particularly health, education and police to ensure looked after children are safeguarded and their education and health needs are met. There is a corporate parenting manager who oversees the Corporate Parenting Strategic Plan 2012/2015. The plan provides a foundation for identification of priorities, working with Lead members and senior officers across the council to ensure a council wide approach to Corporate Parenting. The views of children and young people are supported through the Children in Care Committee (CiCC). The Corporate Parenting Forum meets quarterly and involves partner agency s, members of the CiCC, a number of elected members and a representative from the Fostering Executive group. There is a designated nurse for looked after children and a commissioned Advocacy Service (National Youth Advisory Service). In addition a Participation Service is commissioned from Voiceability. There is access to an Educational Psychology service from the Early Intervention Service (EIT) which works closely with local schools for all Bexley children. The EIT s are a multi-disciplinary team including, psychologists, education welfare officers, and teachers with behaviour management skills who link with specific schools.
8 8 All foster carers are able to contact a social worker within the Bexley Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) who will provide advice and support and see the carer and/or children, if appropriate. CAMHS has provided training to foster carers, for example on Non Violent Resistance, and provides consultation on request, if the referral meets their eligibility criteria. Where it has been appropriate the Children s Placements Service will fund foster carers to be supported by a consultant from Fostering Network. Following approval, all foster carers are subject to a six month probationary period, which culminates with the first review and thereafter, reviews are held annually. A foster carer has a comprehensive review of their approval each year, or more frequently if there has been a significant event, which may have had an impact on the foster carer s ability to foster. It is the responsibility of the supervising social worker to prepare this report with the foster carer. There is an annual robust training programme in place, in line with the National Minimum Standards and the Children s Workforce Development Council standards for foster carers, to ensure all foster carers receive continued professional development. It is expected that carers will complete a minimum of 3 training courses per year and undertake identified mandatory training courses. Training sessions are held on a rolling programme at a variety of times to suit all circumstances. Online training is also available. The Foster carer annual review is independently chaired by a reviewing officer within the Children Services, when it is new carer/s first review, or there has been an allegation in connection with the carer/s, or when there have been concerns about the carer/s practice. The outcomes of these reviews are taken to the fostering panel. As a matter of good practice annual reviews are referred to Fostering Panel on alternate years for further independent scrutiny and quality assurance and the opportunity for foster carers to attend and discuss their role and progress. In the intervening year the review will be ratified by the Service Manager. The report includes comments from the children s social worker(s) and comments from the child and the birth family. As part of the fostering review, training the carer has completed is listed and any additional training needs are identified. If there is a change of approval recommended or a change in the carers circumstances e.g. recent house move, these reviews are also presented to the Fostering Panel. In addition to the varied training programme provided by the Fostering Service, all foster carers have been given training in the CWDC standards. 90% have completed their portfolios and 10% are nearing completion. New foster carers are now being trained in the new Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care (TSD) published by DfE. 4.6 Connected Person Foster Care Research indicates that children and young people tend to fare better when cared for within their extended family and wherever possible, potential carers are sought from within the family or the family s social network. Family & Friends/Connected Person carers are assessed by a qualified social worker from the Children's Placements Service to care for a specific child.
9 9 The Connected Person foster carer is allocated a supervising social worker. Connected Person carers receive the same core allowance to meet the needs of the child as other foster carers. Connected Person Foster carers are invited to the two support groups held each month and have access to the full fostering training programme. 4.7 Short Break Family Based Shared Care The Fostering Service works closely with the Disabled Children Service to provide carers for disabled children and young people whose families require occasional short breaks. The placements for children who access the Disabilities Children s Service (DCS) are stable and all of the families have packages of care to support the children and their carers. External providers have been commissioned to run short breaks programmes, including Saturday Clubs, After School and Youth Clubs, care at home and in the community, holiday schemes and outings. The DCS are encouraging increasing use of direct payments for families to purchase short breaks directly from a provider, employing a support worker or other services to support the caring for child who has disabilities. 4.8 Family Finding Function Fostering social workers find permanent alternative families for children who are unable to return to live with their birth family. Family finding work is done in partnership with the child s social worker and regular Permanency Planning Meetings are held in order to progress long term care planning for children who cannot return to their birth families. Permanency options include Special Guardianship, long term fostering, Connected Person care or Adoption. Children Placements service also work with other fostering agencies, to meet the child s needs. Specific advertising will be undertaken if required to identify a suitable family. 4.9 Panel Bexley has a Fostering Panel, which considers all foster carer matters. In line with the NMS an independent chair was appointed in September 2013 and offers an effective independent chairing process. Fostering Panel has a central list of panel members who have skills and experience in health services, education, fostering, CAMHS and child care social work. All foster carers are reviewed at panel within the year of their initial registration. Foster Care Reviews are taken to Panel where there has been a formal complaint or a change in circumstances, which requires a change in approval. All foster carers registered with the London Borough of Bexley are subject to independent annual reviews and every 3 years reviews will be presented to panel. This Panel also considers plans for looked after children where permanency through fostering is in the best interests of a child. The Panel will recommend a match with prospective long-term carers. The Children s Placement panel is an officer panel that reviews and considers placement requests for children and young people who are in placements both in house and out of borough. It is chaired by the Head of Service, Terms of Reference are available for the Looked After Child panel. The recommendations of the Fostering Panel are ratified or amended by the Agency Decision Maker, the Deputy Director for Children s Social Care. Carers are invited to attend panels when a review is taking place.
10 Foster Carers Association In order to facilitate a positive working relationship with foster carers a Foster Carers Executive Committee was established in 2012, later renamed the Bexley Foster Carers Association. The current committee is working with the independent voluntary organization the Fostering Network to develop the work of the Association recently provided a consultant and a series of training. 4.9 Service Development The Fostering Service is continually being developed to ensure the highest quality of placements for looked after children, including placements that reflect the diverse needs of children and offer a good match. Foster carers receive regular supervision to support them in supporting the children in placement. There is regular peer supervision and support through case discussion for supervising social workers. Social workers and managers are offered a wide programme of training to develop their skills. There is a programme of training for social workers and managers, organised by the Organisational Development Unit. All staff complete a Personal Development Plan, which includes training needs, and the Organisational Development Unit ensures that these training needs are met wherever possible. These have included a Training the Trainers and access to national events provided by BAAF and Fostering Network. All fostering social workers are involved in delivering the Skills to Foster Training Programme, prospective foster carers Information Evenings and Safeguarding training for carers. The service understands the continuing development of foster carers is necessary and their learning needs are supported through the review process and the introduction of training and development plans. A Foster Carers Charter is now available in process in response to fostering legislative changes and developments. The Charter has been in consultation with the new Foster Carers Association. Annual training is held for Fostering Panel Members. There is an awards ceremony to reward and recognise foster carers work and in particular for long service ranging from 5 years to over 25 years. This involves councillors and the Mayor and the event is reported in the local press. This has contributed to raising the profile of Bexley Fostering and understanding Corporate Parenting Responsibilities across the Council.. 5. Principles and Standards of Care The service is properly managed by appropriately trained and qualified managers to ensure the best possible service. The service works within the Fostering Service Regulations 2011 and in accordance with the Children Act 1989 All staff are appropriately professionally qualified, properly checked and trained. All staff work within the framework of London Borough of Bexley's Policy and Procedures regarding corporate issues. For example, the staff induction programme incorporates training on the equal opportunities policy and how this can be put into dayto-day practice. All staff work according to the Bexley s Education and Social Care Policy and Procedures. All staff work within the London Child Protection Procedures and liaise with
11 11 the Safeguarding Children Service, who co-ordinate investigations where there are allegations made against foster carers. This may involve foster carers birth children as well as children looked after by the local authority. Quality systems and procedures are in place to ensure optimum service delivery and the service is managed in a way that delivers an effective and efficient service. As part of this CPS has a comprehensive tracking system developed and maintained by the admin team that quickly identifies the service that is being received. The fostering service has clear administrative records and financial management systems pertinent to the running of the service. There are clear lines of accountability and delegation. Competent and experienced staff are employed to recruit, train and assess suitable foster carers to meet the needs of children and young people requiring the service. All staff members are experienced practitioners. The service is a fair and competent employer, following sound employment practice and offering good support for staff and foster carers. The fostering service is committed to meeting and enhancing the learning and development needs of both staff and foster carers. We use a number of different facilitators for training, who are either internal or from outside agencies. Topics covered include diversity, child protection, attachment, education of Looked After Children, Domestic Violence, First Aid and leaving care. The training will vary from year to year according to and dependent on the needs of foster carers, as identified in their annual review. All staff have access to regular training and staff development. The fostering service has a confident and competent Fostering Panel capable of providing a quality assurance role with regards to the recruitment and review of foster carers and foster placements. The Panel ensures that the welfare and safety of children is paramount in its decision making. All approved foster placements provide a safe and protected environment for children placed. All foster carers are reviewed at least annually and training needs are identified. Comments and feedback from the foster carers, the childcare social workers, parents and children are taken forward to ensure the development of the fostering service. Children are additionally asked for their views of their experience of a placement after they have left it, as it is recognised that they may not feel able to express any concerns while they are in placement. The fostering service has a clear strategy for the support of foster carers, ensuring each foster carer has access to a supervising social worker. The fostering service ensures that there are comprehensive and up to date records on all children placed and all foster carers providing placements. These records also include potential foster carers during the recruitment process. This information is
12 12 accessible in line with data protection legislation. Workers use contact record sheets that are cross-referenced and 'Link Agenda Sheets' for the supervision of foster carers. Appropriate contact with the birth family is actively promoted. The Foster Carers Association support and encourage carers to facilitate contact in their home, wherever this is appropriate. All staff liaise with the Safeguarding Children s Service regarding Child Care Reviews and the needs and wishes of the young people in placement. All staff work with the liaison officers in the Safeguarding Children s Service regarding the education and health of looked after children. The officers are accessible and approachable and consult with the duty worker regarding service implications for children. The Children's Placements Service is aware of the need to alert the education liaison officer, particularly where we may want to place children with our in-house foster carers who live in other authorities. Most of these are neighbouring authorities and close to the borough borders Each child placed is encouraged to achieve his/her full educational potential. All children placed are encouraged to develop skills appropriate to their age and development. Where a permanency plan has been agreed, either for long term fostering or adoption, a child is matched in a placement which meets his or her needs. Bexley is committed to providing family based placements in the community for the majority of looked after children. Independent Fostering Agency placements are only used to meet very specific placement requirements. Wherever possible agency placements will be sought within Bexley borough. Where Independent Fostering and Residential Agency placements are required preferred providers are those Agencies contracted through the Pan London initiative. OFSTED reports for these Agencies are obtained before a child is placed and a Prospective Foster Carer Report relating to a foster carer is read by a senior social worker. The fostering service offers a complaints service to both children and foster carers. There is a whistle blowing procedure available to staff, children and foster carers. 6. Information 6.1 Social Work Staff Placements and Specialist Services Head of Service Postal Address: Children s Placements and Specialist Services Civic Offices, Broadway, Bexleyheath Kent, DA6 7LB a. Numbers of staff 1 Fostering Team Manager 1 Placement Team Manager 1 Assistant Team Manager 4 senior Social Worker
13 13 8 Full Time Social Worker 2 Social Work Assistant 2 Administrators b. Qualification of staff All social workers have a social work qualification and are registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council HCPC. c. Experience of staff All staff are suitably experienced in the field of Family Placements and at least 8 have had a substantial number of years experience in all areas of fostering and adoption work. All staff have on-going training to satisfy HCPC Registration and personal development. 6.2 Foster Carers Number of fostering households: as of July Number of children in a Bexley Placement a. Place with Connected Person Carers 19 b. Placed with Foster Carers Summary of Complaints Procedure Under section 26(3) of the Children Act 1989 and The Children s Act 1989 Representations Procedure (England) Regulations 2006, Bexley has a complaints procedure which follows the Getting the Best from Complaints guidance notes produced by the Department for Education. This information is found in the Complaints Procedure leaflet. However, we would hope that complaints and comments could be dealt with at an informal stage, through the management and supervisory system wherever possible. Complaints can be addressed to: Director of Education & Social Care London Borough of Bexley Civic Offices 2 Watling Street Bexleyheath Kent DA6 7AT Looked After Children also have access to an advocacy service commissioned by Bexley. Complaints can be addressed to Ofsted and the Children s Rights Director at: The National Complaints Team Office of the Children s Rights Director Ofsted National Business Unit Ofsted Piccadilly Gate, Aviation House Store Street 125 Kingsway, Manchester, London M1 2WD WC2B 6SE Telephone:
14 14 8. Summary The aim and purpose of Bexley Children's Placement Service is to meet the needs of all the children who live within our community and require alternative care. These children will have had an assessment by a social worker in the Children s Social Care social work teams, the Disabled Children s Service and the Leaving Care Service as defined by the Children Act 1989, and a request made to the Children's Placement Service. The fostering service recognises the importance of identifying and responding to the changing needs that the community have in Bexley and provides carers from a wider range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds to reflect this. There is also a priority to recruit carers from a range of backgrounds including same sex carers and single carers. We encourage applications who are interested in both short term/long term/short break and respite caring, and applicants interested in caring from disabled children and caring for teenagers and parents & children placements. The Children s Placements Service has successfully recruited workers from black and minority ethnic communities and is able to offer a service which reflects the diversity of the children and families with whom we work. The Bexley Fostering service is managed within the standards and best practices set out in the: Fostering Regulations and Guidance 2013 Fostering Services Regulations 2011 Fostering Services national Minimum Standards 2011 Children Act guidance and Regulations volume 4 (Fostering Services (2011) Care Planning, Placement & Case Review and Fostering Services (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013 The service ensures that the best interest of the child is paramount. Where family members or friends of the family can care for children we provide a quality service for the assessment and support of connected persons foster carers. The service recruits, assesses and support foster carers who can provide a range of respite, shared care, emergency, short term and long term placements meeting the requirements of the National Care Standards 2000 Fostering National Minimum Standards 2011, and the Assessment & Approval of Foster Cares Guidance February 2014
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