Ofsted praise for fostering agency’s progress


A fostering agency has been praised by Ofsted for the “significant progress” it has made since its last inspection.

The Foster Care Agency (TFCA), which is based in Shoreham, was visited by inspectors Maire Atherton and Lucy Chapman between June 15-19 and their findings were published on August 5.

The agency was last inspected in June 2012 when it was judged to be only ‘adequate’. A period of change followed and a new manager, Luisa Halloran, was appointed.

The report praised Mrs Halloran as a “dynamic and enthusiastic” manager who led by example; while her team was described as being committed to protecting the wellbeing of the children they placed with foster carers.

It added: “The cohesive staff team is committed to ensuring that children and young people are placed with foster carers who can meet their needs and effectively safeguard and promote their well-being.”

Mrs Halloran said she was delighted with the outcome of the inspection and praised her “strong, enthusiastic” team.

She added: “The inspectors were very thorough and the report reflects the hard work and commitment from not only the staff team but our foster carers who help make the experiences of all the children and young people in the fostering households positive ones.”

The Foster Care Agency is part of the National Fostering Agency which owns eight other such agencies throughout England. At the time of the inspection it had approved 38 fostering households and there were 47 children and young people in placements.

The foster carers themselves were said to be highly impressed with the support they received from the agency. One stated: “Every time there was an issue I could speak to someone, even at 11 o’clock at night.”

As for the children, they were described as safe, thriving, comfortable and making good progress living with their foster carers.

One child spoke of their foster carers as “fun, funny and loving”, while another wrote: “I love my foster family as my real family.”

The training of the foster carers was highlighted as a strength, though it was noted some were more reluctant to take part in training than others.

“This issue was listed among the recommendations made by Ofsted to help the agency to improve further.

The list was not a long one – asking the agency to ensure unannounced visits to the foster homes were carried out at least annually, while offering advice on the recording of information relating to the children and the training and supervision of the foster carers.

Mrs Halloran said all Ofsted’s recommendations had been implemented and their impact on the agency would be monitored.

Regarding the improvements made at TFCA since 2012, she said: “Since our last inspection we have evaluated many of our processes to create clear and robust procedures with all our actions designed to wrap around each individual placement.

“I am very proud of quality of the service TFCA delivers today and this Ofsted rating will grant us the recognition that we deserve to continue to be a robust fostering provider.”

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