Statement of Purpose

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1 FosteringMatters Statement of Purpose FosteringMatters Limited is an Independent Fostering Agency, incorporated in May 2004, which began trading in September The three directors, Geoff Mc Kay, Eileen McKay and Mike Castledine jointly own FosteringMatters. Building on over 65 years of social work, family placement work and management experience between them, the Directors believed that they could offer an alternative in the independent foster care service sector. FosteringMatters exists to provide high quality foster care placements to children and young people throughout the UK. The Directors are dedicated to the provision of services that offer genuine Quality of care, Integrity at all levels of operation and Respect for all we work with, whether Looked After child or young person, Local Authority employee, or foster carer. FosteringMatters aims to provide a service that has caring, pride and commitment as central 'core' values. FosteringMatters is registered with and inspected by OFSTED, as required under the Fostering Services (England) Regulations Our URN is SC FosteringMatters works to the National Minimum Standards that inform practice and services in the sector and aims to surpass these at all times; National Minimum Standards FosteringMatters has signed the Foster Carers Charter, which seeks to unite fostering services, carers and Local Authorities around a shared understanding. A copy of this Charter can be downloaded from our website. This Statement of Purpose has been written in accordance with the Fostering Service Regulations 2011 and is regularly reviewed.

2 FosteringMatters Mission Statement FosteringMatters intends to provide services of the highest quality to children and young people, to foster carers and to Local Authorities. Our Mission Statement is: "FosteringMatters aims to provide quality care with integrity and respect." We believe that this simple statement very clearly outlines our goals and values and our vision. This vision will inform our operations and practice at all times. Principles and Values FosteringMatters will work to provide the highest quality services at all times. Central to our approach to the provision of foster care is the desire to provide services that we feel are the best available in the sector. FosteringMatters directors and employees will strive at all times to provide services that offer children and young people a genuine opportunity to achieve stability in their lives and to give them the opportunities and tools to maximise their individual potential. In accord with the National Minimum Standards FosteringMatters will ensure the child s welfare, safety and needs are at the centre of all we do. FosteringMatters will work with integrity at all times. Our approach will be informed by our view that all relationships should be underpinned by a full commitment to this value and that all services are offered to customers and service users in a way that guarantees a sense of integrity for all. Additionally FosteringMatters will work and practice in a way that demonstrates clear respect for all. We will always show respect for children and young people placed with us as well as for their families and we will always work with respect for our customer local authorities with whom we seek to work in full partnership. We will also work with our carers in ways that demonstrate our full commitment to them and our sense of 'value' for the hard work they do in providing a home and safe care and nurture for those children and young people who are unable, for whatever reason, to live with their own birth families. FosteringMatters will work closely with all Local Authorities in order to demonstrate a full commitment to an ethical and open approach to partnership working. Our fees and charges will be clear, reasonable and cost effective, with transparency in regard to how these charges are utilised. Our carers will receive allowances that are fully in line with or better than sector averages and we will work closely with carers in order to ensure that these allowances are utilised to best advantage for the benefit of young people placed as well as for the carers themselves.

3 FosteringMatters will work tirelessly to ensure that there is dedication to the achievement of potential for all children and young people placed with us with the measure of the five 'outcomes' central to how we devote and direct our resources. FosteringMatters is committed to promoting equal opportunities for all and has a zero tolerance in respect of discriminatory acts and practices. Services offered by FosteringMatters to children and young people will be in line with the accepted values of Anti- Discriminatory Practice and in accordance with FosteringMatters Anti- Discrimination / Equal Opportunities Policy. Every child or young person placed within the service will be regarded as an individual with unique needs and potential and will receive espect and regard in line with their culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, personal health and/or disability, religion, language and any other personal preference. Objectives FosteringMatters aims to provide highly competent, dedicated, well trained and knowledgeable carers to Local Authorities across the UK. As FosteringMatters recruits carers across several geographical areas we offer the Local Authorities in those areas, placements that are local for children and young people. We believe that the placement of children and young people within their own localities and communities is generally in their best interests. Such placements are also in the interests of local communities and Local Authorities. Working for Children FosteringMatters recognises that it works with some of the most vulnerable members of society and will maintain its clear vision in regard to the safeguarding of children and young people and in regard to the appropriate physical, emotional and educational development of all individuals placed within the service. The child comes first. FosteringMatters will work towards the following Outcomes for Children: Being Healthy Staying Safe Enjoying & Achieving Making a Positive Contribution Achieving Economic Well Being

4 More specifically FosteringMatters will work to the outcomes for the child focused National Minimum Standards for Fostering (NMS 1-12): Children know that their views, wishes and feelings are taken into account in all aspects of their care; are helped to understand why it may not be possible to act upon their wishes in all cases; and know how to obtain support and make a complaint. The views of others with an important relationship to the child are gathered and taken into account. Children have a positive self- view, emotional resilience and knowledge and understanding of their background. Children enjoy sound relationships with their foster family, interact positively with others and behave appropriately. Children feel safe and are safe. Children understand how to protect themselves and are protected from significant harm, including neglect, abuse, and accident. Children rarely go missing and if they do, they return quickly. Children who do go missing are protected as far as possible and responded to positively on their return. Children live in a healthy environment where their physical, emotional and psychological health is promoted and where they are able to access the services to meet their health needs. Children are able to enjoy their interests, develop confidence in their skills and are supported and encouraged to engage in leisure activities. Children are able to make a positive contribution to the foster home and their wider community. The education and achievement of children are actively promoted as valuable in themselves and as part of their preparation for adulthood. Children are supported to achieve their educational potential. Children have, where appropriate, constructive contact with their parents, grandparents, siblings, half- siblings, wider family, friends and other people who play a significant role in their lives. Children live in foster homes which provide adequate space, to a suitable standard. The child enjoys access to a range of activities which promote his or her development. Children are welcomed into the foster home and leave the foster home in a planned and sensitive manner which makes them feel loved and valued.

5 Children feel part of the family. They are not treated differently to the foster carer s own children living in the household. The child s needs are met and they benefit from a stable placement. Children are prepared for, and supported into, adulthood so that they can reach their potential and achieve economic wellbeing. Independence FosteringMatters aims to play a significant part in assisting young people in their transition to young adulthood and in enabling such individuals to play their own part in society feeling integrated rather than, perhaps, feeling 'excluded' from the world around them. Safeguarding Safeguarding is a priority and FosteringMatters will do the utmost to safeguard all children and young people placed. All foster children need to be safe from any form of harm. FosteringMatters provides a range of safeguarding training to staff and carers. FosteringMatters carries out a safeguarding audit at least quarterly. A monthly review is carried out by the Senior Management Team. Safeguarding will remain a standing agenda item for all team meetings and staff supervision. Participation FosteringMatters is a child centred service and as such strives to include children and young people, as appropriate, in as many aspects of FosteringMatters services as practical. FosteringMatters recognises that children and young people should play an integral part in the development of the services we provide. To that end FosteringMatters will continue to support and develop the FosteringMatters Children s Consultation Group. Matching FosteringMatters works in partnership with Local Authorities and carers in order to identify and support appropriate and professionally matched placements for looked after children and young people. Our dedicated duty and referral systems together with our approach to informed and professional matching will ensure that we achieve our stated goals. FosteringMatters

6 attaches great importance to the matching process and views the process as vital to best practice. Children and young people placed with FosteringMatters carers can be assured that they are placed with the most committed and well trained individuals, who are supported fully by significantly experienced, dedicated and highly trained social work personnel. The directors and staff of FosteringMatters are committed to ensuring that all children and young people placed with FosteringMatters receive individual care that is specific and carefully planned in their best interests. FosteringMatters strives to protect all children and young people placed from all forms of abuse. FosteringMatters will always put safeguarding children at the forefront in its work and in its policy, practice and philosophy. Services Offered FosteringMatters works in line with and fully recognises all of the principles inherent in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. FosteringMatters works in line with all relevant national legislation and regulation, including for example the Children Act 1989, The Children Act 2004, The Fostering Services Regulations (2011) the Care Standards Act (2000) and the Fostering Services National Minimum Standards (2011) FosteringMatters is able to provide a wide range of placement options for all age groups, including: Respite Placements Bridging Placements Short term Placements Pre- Adoption Placements Long term Placements Permanent Placements Emergency Placements Unaccompanied Minor Placements Parent and child Placements Disability Placements

7 FosteringMatters is able to offer placements that are not regarded as 'mainstream', and will work with Local Authorities to identify suitable placements for, as examples, parent and baby/child, placements for children with disability and/or identified special needs, or other issues that require more specialist knowledge and care. Partnership FosteringMatters offers a high standard of service provision and seeks to work in full partnership with Local Authority customers in order to monitor and further develop these services. FosteringMatters undertakes to support Local Authority social work staff in regard to their responsibilities relating to statutory Looked After Children processes. FosteringMatters will use best endeavours to obtain feedback from Local Authority customers, with the intention of managing and developing services that are in line with customer requirements and expectations and that exceed national standards. FosteringMatters seeks to ensure that all carers work fully in partnership with FosteringMatters, with Local Authority social work staff and with the families of looked after children and young people in order to guarantee the success of placements and the welfare, stability and development of looked after children and young people. FosteringMatters undertakes to recruit and approve carers who have the demonstrated commitment, ability and training that enables them to offer the standards of care that we believe in. Foster Panel The role of the FosteringMatters Foster Panel is to make a recommendation on the approval of new Foster Carer applicants, to make a recommendation on the statutory review of approved Foster Carers, to make a recommendation on the de- registration of Foster Carers and to act as part of the appeal process on complaints against the Agency or any of its representatives. FosteringMatters Foster Panel plays a major part in the Quality Assurance process. Each member is required to complete a Quality Assurance Form for each panel application. The panel liaises closely with FosteringMatters Management through the Panel Chair. This is an essential Quality Assurance element. The Foster Panel Central List includes a wide range of experience. The Independent Chair and the Vice Chairs are qualified and experienced professionals. There is currently one member who is care experienced, three independent members, as well as experienced social workers.

8 Full details regarding panel membership can be made available to interested parties and organisations. Joint panel and Operational staff training is provided to ensure best practice. Foster Carer Approval FosteringMatters endeavours to recruit foster carers from a diverse range of backgrounds, ethnicities, geographical locations, economic situations and from differing family compositions. This will ensure that we can provide the most suitable match to meet the needs of children referred to the agency. Potential applicants will not be discriminated against on grounds of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age or economic status. However, prospective Foster Carers must be able to meet the needs of any possible child placed. FosteringMatters carries out rigorous assessments of prospective foster carers and uses the 2013 BAAF Form F as the primary foster carer assessment tool. The process will include a detailed assessment of the candidates background including their childhood, their educational experiences, their own life experiences, their upbringing, their own parenting experiences, their values and attitudes to diversity and any specific skills they may have e.g. working with disabilities and working with adolescents. Full checks such as DBS, Local Authority checks and references will be obtained. Carer Reviews FosteringMatters undertakes to ensure that reviews of carer s approval are undertaken in respect of all carers on an annual basis in line with statutory requirements. The intention of such reviews (which are Standard and Outcomes based) will be to continually improve the services offered by FosteringMatters and to ensure that all carers receive the support and training that is required to allow ongoing improvement in standards of service. FosteringMatters will consult fully with Local Authority staff in order to gain relevant feedback and information in regard to placements and carers at review times. FosteringMatters will also consult with children in placement and children who foster. Reviews of carers will be held more frequently where in FosteringMatters opinion it is deemed necessary to do so. Working as a Carer with FosteringMatters FosteringMatters believes that the recruitment and retention of dedicated and highly competent carers is fundamental to our success. Recruitment and retention successes are based firmly upon the highest standards of support, management and training.

9 FosteringMatters will therefore ensure that to enable its carers to meet the needs of the children they look after they will receive: Dedicated support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Minimum of a monthly visit from a supporting social worker (SSW). Regular phone support (minimum weekly) from a SSW. Support in meeting the child s educational needs. Support of SSW at professionals meetings. A Professional fostering allowance when a child is in placement. Wilful Damage Insurance. Regular programme of training Carer support group meetings. Support activities for children. Pre and post approval training programme. Fostering Network membership for all carers. Training All FosteringMatters carers will have access to regular training. FosteringMatters believes that it is essential for carers to seek to continually improve their levels of knowledge and ability and that access to appropriate training on a regular basis provides the opportunity for this development. It is a requirement that FosteringMatters carers attend training. FosteringMatters offers Fostering Network Skills to Foster, preparation training and ongoing post approval training for all carers. The training provided is sourced according to carers needs and levels of experience. FosteringMatters will provide a balanced mix of resources; some training will be provided 'in house' by experienced and qualified professional staff, whilst other more specialist programmes will be provided by externally sourced organisations. FosteringMatters undertakes to ensure that all carers are able to progress through their caring career, building knowledge and skills as they do so.

10 FosteringMatter Ltd Organisational structure 2014 Geoff McKay Eileen McKay Michael Castledine Company Director Company Director Company Director Non operational Responsible Individual Allister Keating Registered Manager Administration & finance 2.5 FTE Social Workers X 4 Referrals & Panel Administration Trainers 1.5 FTE We also have the services of a chartered accountant and Penninsula who act as our HR advisors. We have a functions manager who undertakes healthy eating catering for all training and panel. Directors Eileen McKay and Mike Castledine own FosteringMatters and are qualified and experienced social workers and managers. Mike Castledine is the Responsible Individual and Allister Keating who is an experienced and qualified social worker and manager is the Registered Manager. FosteringMatters currently employs four qualified and experienced supporting social workers who are HCPC registered, who along with a referrals officer and Panel administrator are supervised by the registered manager. FosteringMatters foster carers will only be supervised and supported by qualified social workers. In addition to ongoing Post Qualification training all FosteringMatters staff are encouraged and resourced to attend training relevant to their roles. This has resulted in qualifications being secured in Management, Health and Safety and Financial Management. Quality Assurance and Monitoring FosteringMatters aims to provide services that exceed National Standards. To enable FosteringMatters to ensure children are provided with the high level of care we expect, FosteringMatters have rigorous Quality Assurance systems in place. In addition to the independent Quality Assurance function provided by the foster panel, the FosteringMatters data collection and monitoring enables managers and staff to track and monitor the progress of children throughout their stay with their foster carers. Our internal systems and

11 IT equipment ensures records and checks are up to date. In addition, monthly staff and management meetings ensure the quality of care is paramount. Monitoring is further facilitated by frequent formal and informal supervision of staff and carers, auditing of case files and standing agenda items at team meetings and management meetings. Complaints and Representation FosteringMatters has a full complaints and representation service in place (including centralised management for monitoring and analysis) details are available upon request. FosteringMatters manages complaints and representations properly and in a timely manner. FosteringMatters tries to resolve issues informally and, where possible directly between the complainant and the subject of the complaint, but where formal process is instigated, we aim to resolve issues in a thorough and timely manner. FosteringMatters strives, however, to provide services that are of the highest standard at all times, and believes that, as a result, complaints will be a low frequency occurrence. In the event of allegations being made against foster carers or staff FosteringMatters offers to fund an Independent Advocate. FosteringMatters April 2014

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