STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

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1 LIBERTY FROM ABUSE LIBERTY FROM ADVERSITIES LIBERTY FROM NEGLECT STATEMENT OF PURPOSE The primary aim of the service is to provide safe and appropriate foster care placements for children accommodated with Liberty Foster Care services. This statement of purpose offers an overview of our policy and procedures. LIBERTY FOR CHILDREN Madhavi Lata Liberty Foster Care Ltd. 02/07/2014

2 1.1 INTRODUCTION Liberty Foster Care believes that most children's needs are best met within their own families. However, we recognise that this is not possible for some children. Liberty FosterCare provides alternative quality care within a family setting for children up to their 18 th birthday, either on a temporary or permanent basis. The National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services (Standard 16) and the Fostering Services Regulations 2011 (Regulation 3(1)) state that the Fostering Service Provider must compile a written statement in relation to the Fostering Service, a "Statement of Purpose", which details the aims and objectives of the Fostering Service and the services and facilities provided. This Statement of Purpose has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Standards and Regulations. This Statement of Purpose includes: A statement of the aims and objectives of the fostering service A statement of the services and facilities provided by the fostering service Assessment and approval of foster carers Training and support for foster carers A copy of the Statement of Purpose will be made available upon request, to: Any person working for the purposes of the Fostering Service. Any foster carer or prospective foster carer of the Fostering Service. Any child/young person placed with a foster carer by the Fostering Service. The parent of any such child/young person. Any placing authority of any child placed in Liberty foster care The Fostering Service must ensure that all times, the service is conducted in a manner which is consistent with its Statement of Purpose. This Statement of Purpose will be reviewed, updated and modified whenever necessary, but not less than annually. If you have any comments or suggestions in relation to this document or the Fostering Service please contact: Madhavi Lata Registered Manager Liberty Foster Care Passfield Business Centre Lynchborough Road Hampshire GU30 7SB

3 2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES Aim We aim to provide safety, stability, and safety for looked after children and young people placed with our foster families. We believe this is the basis for achieving positive outcomes for young people, building their confidence and capacity to meet the challenges of adult life. Stability and progress within placements is achieved through an expanding range of child-centred services. Objectives In relation to placements Liberty Foster Care aims:- To provide children with a positive, safe and nurturing experience of foster care. To work as far as possible with a manageable number of local authorities and education authorities in order to make meaningful partnerships in the best interests of children. To minimise discontinuities in the lives of vulnerable children and young people including the premature ending or disruption of placements. To recruit foster carers who have the potential to develop their fostering knowledge and skills to the highest standards, To provide carers with the support and training necessary for their continuing development, with the aim of empowering them to manage a wide range of complex and challenging behaviour so that vulnerable children feel secure and develop their potential. To offer foster carers a robust package of professional support and financial remuneration, in order to protect the choice of placements for children. We aim to offer services in an inclusive partnership-based approach which embraces children and young people, where appropriate their families, foster carers, the local authorities and other agency colleagues from particularly, Health, Education & Leisure. 3. PRINCIPLES AND STANDARDS OF CARE Liberty Foster Care ensures that the interests and welfare of children is paramount at all times, and this is reflected in all aspects of the work. The safety and the protection of looked after children is an overriding priority for the service. The principles and standards upon which placements are offered and managed are based on the Every Child Matters (ECM) Outcomes Framework. The five ECM outcomes which we would want to achieve for all children and young people placed with us is: Being healthy Staying safe Enjoying and achieving Making a positive contribution Achieving economic well-being 3

4 Each child placed with Liberty Foster Care is encouraged and supported to achieve their full potential in all aspects of their lives. All children placed are encouraged to develop independence skills appropriate to their age and development. The needs of looked after children is met in respect of education, and this is achieved by working closely with other professionals. Liberty Foster Care aims to ensure that each child has a stable school placement, a personal education plan, and the educational support necessary to meet his or her needs. Liberty Foster Care encourages and enables foster carers to promote positive emotional and physical health of looked after children and young people by ensuring that foster carers help children and young people placed with them maintain good health and are encouraged to make use of leisure time. Where required, appropriate contact between the children, their families and significant others is actively promoted. Liberty Foster Care values diversity and promotes equality in all aspects of service delivery. Liberty Foster Care ensures that there is a range of safe and appropriate placements for Looked After Children and that it has a clear strategy for the recruitment and support of foster carers ensuring each foster carer has access to a supervising social worker as well as a 24hrs. support service for foster carers and children. The service is properly managed by an appropriately trained and qualified Manager to ensure the best possible day-to-day management of the agency. We ensure that the service is a fair and competent employer; following sound employment practises, offering good support for staff and foster carers and that the service is managed in a way that is both effective and efficient. Competent and experienced staffs are employed to recruit suitable foster carers to meet the needs of children and young people requiring a service. All staff is appropriately qualified and properly checked and trained. Liberty Foster Care is committed to meeting and enhancing the learning and developmental needs of both staff and foster carers. Quality systems are in place to ensure optimum service delivery and there are clear lines of accountability and delegation. Liberty Foster Care ensures that comprehensive and up to date records on all children placed and all foster carers providing placements are maintained. These records to include potential foster carers in the process of being recruited. This information is made accessible in line with data protection legislation. Liberty Foster Care has clear administration records and financial management systems pertinent to the running of the service. Liberty Foster Care has a confident and competent panel capable of providing a quality assurance role with regards to the recruitment and review of foster carers and foster 4

5 placements. The panel will ensure the welfare and safety of children is paramount in all its decision making. The service is regularly monitored against a range of quality standards, and will strive for constant improvement. 4 SERVICES PROVIDED Liberty Foster Care provides foster care placements for children and young people aged between 0-18 years on short, medium and long term basis. The children are placed with foster carers, who are specifically recruited, assessed, trained, approved and supported to offer high quality placements to children and young people in need. Short Break care is also coordinated and managed by the service. As the service develops further, it is hoped that this service would provide respite and short-breaks to families of children with disabilities as well as where regular breaks are required to maintain children at home or residential school placements. The foster carers are supported to meet holistic needs of children placed with them. 5 DUTY SERVICE Liberty Foster Care ensures a 24 hours duty service to its foster carers, children in placements and children & young people s social care teams. A duty service provides resource consultation for social workers seeking placement for a child and identify suitable emergency foster care placements for children. Duty service is available for foster carers who need advice or support in the absence of their supervising social worker maintain a list of foster carers able to take children in an emergency. Provide information and advice to members of the public interested in becoming foster carers, and process referrals from these enquiries. 6 MATCHING CONSIDERATIONS The Fostering Service aims to ensure that each child or young person placed in foster care is carefully matched with a carer capable of meeting her/his assessed needs. In matching children with carers, account is taken of the child s care plan and recent assessments of the child and their circumstances. Particular attention is paid to the nature, frequency and extent of risks the child may present to self and others. A checklist has been developed for carers to assist them in gathering information that is essential to their task of providing safe care. The Fostering Service is clear that in order to practice Safe Caring, foster carers need to be provided with as much information as possible, preferably before or as soon as possible after the child is placed, in order to help them provide a safe environment for themselves, their own family and the foster child. Where practicable, children are given the opportunity for a period of introduction to a proposed foster carer so they can have a say about their proposed placement and become familiar with the carer and the carer s family, and where appropriate, any other children in placement. 5

6 7 SERVICE STRUCTURE Liberty Foster Care Service is situated in Passfield Business Centre, Passfield, Hampshire, GU30 7SB. The service is organised and managed by a full time Fostering Manager who undertakes responsibility for co-ordinating responses to advertisements. The staffing needs of Liberty Foster Care are responded to according to the workload demands placed on the service. Responsible Individual (Full Time) Mr. John Harper has extensive research and management experience. For a period of four years, he has been actively involved in the business management of another IFA. Mr. John Harper has a great commitment to care and development of children and young people. Fostering Manager (Full Time) Ms. Madhavi Lata completed a postgraduate degree in social work and ever since, for the past twenty four years she has remained committed to children and young people s cause. In 1989, she successfully developed London Borough of Newham s respite care scheme for children and young people with disabilities. Since 1994, she has managed a number of social work teams in children and families services. For a period of some ten years, Ms. Lata served in different fostering and adoption panels. Her extensive experience of managing a range of services would assist her to undertake this new challenge. Supervising Social workers (Full Time) Mrs. Tracy Trescothic is our full time supervising social worker with a nine years post qualifying experience. She has worked for both children s social care and a large voluntary fostering service. Duty and Recruitment Officer (Part Time) Mrs. Sarah Hooper joined our service in May She has worked for the MOD, where she co-ordinated training delivery to young recruits in the service. In addition, a small number of professionals are contracted to undertake following roles and responsibilities to support the service: Independent Foster Panel Members Liberty Foster Care has only one panel that meets the statutory requirements Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, Designation of the Fostering and Adoption Panel Caroline Kerley: Independent Chair John Harper: Responsible Individual Jane Pinder: We are in the process of finalising a contract with an independent Vice Chair Janet Sobey: retired Secondary school teacher Nicola Crisp Independent Panel Member ( Blue Sky Fostering Service) Sharon Buttriss: Health representative and has qualified Social Worker exrepeince in child care Tracy Trescothic. Supervising Social worker (with at least 3 years experience) The Panel is additionally supported by: 6

7 Madhavi Lata: registered Manager: The Panel Adviser Dr. S.M.A. Farooqi: Medical Advisor Sarah Hooper: Minute taker In addition when required, services from the fostering network s legal advisory service are also sought The Panel generally meets to consider each application for approval, the long-term needs of children, and the matching to long term foster carers. Panel members and the Agency's Decision Maker are supplied with copies of the reports to panel in the week preceding the Panel. 8 Recruitment, Assessment & Support of Foster Carers The careful assessment of families interested in offering fostering placements for children in foster care is a task critical to promoting the safety & well being of children in foster care. Liberty Foster Care considers prospective foster carer s assessment process to be one of great importance. It is vital to ensure that the assessments are comprehensive and only those who are considered suitable to provide children with the care and protection they need should be approved after a thorough deliberation. We have undertaken planned recruitment drives within the local community over the year. Adverts and articles in the local news papers and magazine. A drop in event during February and March 2014 including the Fostering Fortnight. We are utlising Google adwords for any web searches. Posters in the local community, e.g. community centre s, libraries, supermarkets and other strategic points within the community etc. Telephone Enquiries - An officer is available during normal office hours to answer any enquiries. Enquiries will be answered during office hours on the day the enquiry is made and electronic information is sent by return or a hard copy is sent on the same day. Web Based Enquiries - Web based enquirers can read the information about fostering online and a response is made the next day to any /communication. Stage 1 Applicants interested in becoming a foster carer are screened to check if their circumstances i.e., health, criminal record, accommodation, experience of caring for children meets our criteria. Following a successful basic check we meet the prospective applicant in their home and they are supported to complete an application form. During this visit detailed discussions take place about the benefits and implications that being a foster carer can have. If there are reasons why the applicant circumstances are not appropriate they will be advised and if they agree their application will be terminated. If the applicant continues to be interested, they are asked to complete part 2 of the application form and this includes consent forms to enable checks to be made and they are invited to attend the next Skills to Foster course if they can offer a possible fostering household. 7

8 Stage 2. If the application is successful at Stage 1 the second part of the assessment continues. Any persons applying who Liberty Foster Care does not wish to take through to Stage 2 is informed of this decision in writing by the Agency Decision Maker. BAAF Form `F competencies based assessments is completed on each applicant and these are evidence based. We look to complete the comprehensive assessments within four to six months period.liberty Foster Care s independent Fostering Panel then considers the completed Form F assessment. On approval, foster carers are allocated a Supervising Social Worker (SSW). Foster carers are given a Fostering handbook and they are required to sign a foster carer agreement after approval. Supervision and Support All Liberty foster carers have an allocated supervising social worker who offers regular supervision in keeping with the fostering regulations. The supervising social worker visits the children and carers at monthly intervals, or more frequently if required by child and or carer s needs. Supervising social worker will also visit when needed or as requested by the foster carer. Supervising social workers records all the supervision and meetings on ecare recording system. These records are accessible to the carer concerns. All foster carers will have an unannounced visit at least every 12 months. A 24 hour service is offered to all foster carers all night and all weekend to provide advice and assistance in emergency from a supervising social worker and manager. The Liberty Foster Care Fostering Service continues to meet the annual cost of subscribing to the carers organisation, the Fostering Network, for all Liberty Foster Care approved carers. This enables carers to use all the advice and support services provided by the Fostering Network including legal protection insurance advice. The Liberty Foster Care works to ensure that carers are kept fully informed about developments in the service, through regular liaison with them. The Liberty Foster Care Fostering Service encourages carers to contact the Fostering Network s Fosterline for independent advice about any fostering matter. Foster carers receive regular allowances to cover the costs of fostering, and is provided or loaned necessary equipments, and some specific insurance cover is made available to supplement their own insurance arrangements. The Fostering Panel considers reviews annually. Following each review, the agency decision maker re-approves the foster carers, or change or terminate the carers approval. Our Foster Placement Policy We believe that children and young people need local placements to reduce the disruption to their lives when they are already upset at having to leave their families. Local placements reduce disruption to school life, learning and friendships and family contact. We match children with carers who are trained and skilled to meet their needs. 8

9 Ethnicity, culture and religion are some of the needs which will be considered when a placement is provided for a child or young person, but are not the only matching considerations. Financial Arrangements Liberty Foster Care Fostering Service pays an allowance to foster carer at a level of maintenance which exceeds the government fostering allowance for every age band. A new finance policy was circulated last year to all approved foster carers. Review of Approval All foster carers must have an annual household review to remain approved, within 12 months of the last review. A review of a foster carers approval must also take place following a significant change in the carer s household, a significant break from fostering by the foster carer, or at the request of the foster carer, after a serious complaint or allegation about the foster carer household. Foster carers approval terms may be changed after a review by the agency decision maker, but the foster carer has 28 days notice to agree or appeal about this change to the agency decision maker or the Independent Review Mechanism. Personal Development Plan and Training Plan The approved foster carers undergo an induction meeting to familiarise themselves with the policy and procedural guidelines. The service provides post approval training, either in a group setting or individually. Additionally, further learning and developing opportunities are also be available by way of participation in a foster carer s support group. All foster carers have a personal development plan which takes account of their training needs to continue to develop their skills in meeting children s needs. We offer a full training and support group service. Foster carers and short breaks carers must complete their TSD standards evidence book within 1 year of approval. Liberty Foster Care Fostering Service offers a full foster carer training package, including online training for carers. 10 Services Provided For Children and Young People Liberty Foster Care provides placements for children and young people we aim to offer: Stability: A stable home with approved and trained carers, who will provide appropriate quality of care. Every effort is made to match children and young people with appropriate foster carers in order to minimise disruption and therefore prevent placement moves. Protection: Protection from abuse and neglect within a safe home environment. Education: The best possible opportunities for a good education. Children s Social Workers and foster carers would take an active interest in children's educational needs being met. They ensure that children and young people attend appropriate schooling. Foster carers liaise regularly with the school in order to make sure that any difficulties 9

10 are addressed, achievements are promoted, children have a Personal Education Plan and that the children receive personal tuition to promote their educational needs where appropriate. Health: The best possible opportunities for good health both physical and emotional. Carers and social workers remain committed to ensuring that every child and young person has a yearly medical, dental and optical check. Where necessary appropriate help is sought from CAMHS or Young Persons Advice centres. Children and Young People are encouraged and supported to take some responsibility for their own health care. Contact with Family and Friends: Where appropriate, contact with family and friends is encouraged and supported. Supervising Social Worker, child s Social Workers and Carers strive to ensure that children and young people remain in contact with those who are significant in their lives. Individual Needs: Every effort is made to meet the individual needs of children and young people when making placements with foster carers. The Fostering Service would always attempt to ensure that a young person's racial, religious, cultural and linguistic needs are taken into account and the appropriate home is provided for children and young people with disabilities and special needs. Leaving Care: We prepare young people to live independently when they leave foster care. Liberty Foster Care will enable young people to make best use of the resources offered by the children s services to support them through this process. The foster carers are actively supporting the Pathway Plan that sets out the plans for their future care. 11. Complaints & Compliments The Liberty Foster Care believes that service users and their families, and foster carers, have the right to express their views for example compliments, complaints, suggestions or representations about the services that are arranged and delivered, and that by doing so we can improve quality and effectiveness. Suggestions and complaints are viewed as a positive means of ensuring the quality of service is reviewed, both at a local level and through the formal complaints procedure. A complaint is a verbal or written expression of dissatisfaction or disquiet. It may be about the organisation, about the implementation of decisions, about the quality or appropriateness of services, or their delivery or non-delivery. At the heart of the complaints procedure is the clear understanding that the protection, welfare and interests of the child or young person must come first. There is a written procedure given to all foster carers as part of the Foster Carers Handbook on the complaints procedure. Looked after children are also provided with information on how to make a complaint and how to get independent advice and support should the need arise. Some looked after children may want their foster carer to make the complaint on 10

11 their behalf. Foster carer may also make a complaint on behalf of a younger child or a child with disabilities. These complaints would be dealt with under the Children Act 1989 and Liberty Foster Carer s Complaints Procedure. The service is registered with and inspected by Ofsted. Enquiries should be addressed to: Ofsted Royal Exchange Buildings St Ann's Square Manchester M2 7LA Tel: (about children services) Tel: (complaints about agencies) Tel: (minicom/textphone enquiries) Key Contact Details The following members of the team can be contacted via the Liberty Foster Care s office in: Passfield Business Centre Lynchborough Road Hampshire GU30 7SB Telephone: Director and Responsible Individual for the Service: John Harper Registered Manager Madhavi Lata Senior Supervising Social Worker: Tracy Trescothic Duty and Recruitment Officer Sarah Hooper 11 LINKS WITH OTHER POLICIES AND PROCEDURE At all times, the service is conducted in a manner that is consistent with this Statement. All policies, procedures and guidance provided to staff and carers accurately reflect this Statement. The service works closely with all the agencies involved with the child. 12 REVISION AND CIRCULATION 11

12 Liberty Foster Care s Registered Manager in consultation with the Director has produced this Statement. The Director of Liberty Foster Care has formally approved the Statement. The Registered Manager is responsible for ensuring that the Statement is updated or modified when necessary, but at least annually. 12

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