Outstanding Foster Care
‘Outstanding’ were the words of Ofsted inspectors after carrying out an inspection of Rutland County Councils Foster Care Services recently.
The inspection took place in August, with the findings being published this month.
Overall the service scored Outstanding – the highest Ofsted score possible.
The report found that the service “works positively and closely with placing social workers and carers, to provide very good outcomes for children in placement…” and that the service “gives careful consideration to matching children and young people to placement, and where appropriate and possible involves children in the process.”
Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Councillor Kenneth Bool (pictured right) said: “It is excellent news that the service has scored so highly. Rutland prides itself on the high level of care and support that we give to both our foster carers and the children in care. Wherever possible we always try to involve the children in the decisions made about their placement to ensure their happiness and I think that this is reflected in the success of the service."
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank staff for all their hard work and dedication over many years, which makes the fostering service in Rutland work so well. It is a testament to their hard work that we have scored so highly in this latest inspection.”
Since the last inspection in 2008, inspectors recorded that various areas have seen improvements including the Family Support Social Worker undertaking significant work to promote family and friends care, and support positive contact arrangements.
Inspectors noted that the “fostering service is managed and operated in an excellent manner and has an impressively child-focused culture. As a consequence, outcomes for children and young people are outstanding across all outcome areas.”
Inspectors also credited the service for effectively recruiting, assessing and preparing the foster carers it needs, pointing out that Rutland’s foster carers are provided with good training which is increasingly undertaken jointly with fostering and social work staff.
Inspectors particularly noted the “degree of integration with partner services such as health, education and leaving care services. This, coupled with detailed individual knowledge of the children who are fostered and their needs, ensures that young people receive timely, clearly targeted and individually relevant services and support.” Managers and staff members were commended for their determination to improve children’s lives and the fact they work with each other flexibly to ensure that the most appropriate person provides young people with any support they need. The foster service was also praised for the clear focus on involving young people and helping them to aspire and achieve. Inspectors found the educational outcomes of children in foster care particularly impressive.
There are currently 14 fostering households in Rutland, which has helped Rutland have the capacity to provide placements for young people with higher levels of needs, due to the vast experience of some of the carers. One Foster Care family told us about their experience of the Rutland County Council foster care support service (names have not been disclosed in order to protect the identity of the family and the children who are in their care):
“The reason why we wanted to foster was simple; we wanted to make a difference to a young life. We had never worked within a local council or had experience with social services, so we didn’t know about a lot of the work the foster care team do. We have had a really positive experience and the team have been fantastic to work with and have always had time to talk us through the process.
“We have met most of the other foster carers in the county and found a very healthy support network within them. We have made many new friends and already have found memories of the young people who have come through our door. Our boys talk openly about their foster work with their friends and teachers and seem proud of their involvement. Our sense of doing something worthwhile has increased and the young people that have entered our lives have enriched us more than anything else that we have done.
“We have two young sons, aged 6 and 9 and so have spent time talking to them about the realities of sharing our home – and their toys! They have been part of every decision process and their active involvement has been critical. The fostering service has always been keen to know their hopes and fears and the boys see them as their friends. As foster carers the boys are our most important asset and the fostering team are very careful as to the kind of placements they offer us because of them; and that is reassuring and also vitally important. Every foster carer will have something unique to offer and, as every child who is looking for help is also unique, there is not a one size fits all approach. Whether you are single or married or living with a partner; younger or older; living in a house or flat, you will make a difference if you have the right qualities and the Rutland Foster service will help you make the right choices.
The support we have received has been incredible and we can honestly say that we are better people for the experience. We would have no hesitation in recommending the Rutland County Council Foster Care Support Team, they have been excellent. “
Want to find out more?
For more information about the Rutland County Council Foster Care Service please:
To see the full Ofsted report please visit: http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports and search for Rutland.