Our statement of purpose

The following document is designed so you can understand us a bit better.

 

Greater London Fostering
Statement of Purpose
It is a requirement of the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 and National
Minimum Standards for Fostering Services (2011) that each fostering agency produces a
Statement of Purpose, including its aims and objectives, a description of the services it
provides, the facilities that are provided, and how outcomes for children and young people
will be achieved.
This Statement of Purpose gives an outline of those requirements, how the service is managed
and its fitness to provide fostering services. It shows the policy and performance framework
that underpins our work and demonstrates how the welfare of children will be met and good
outcomes achieved. It also demonstrates the systems which we have set in place to recruit,
train, supervise and support foster carers. Greater London Fostering (GLF) is run in accordance
with the principles outlined in the following legislative and policy framework:
• Children Act 1989
• Care Standards Act 2000
• Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000
• Children & Young Persons Act 2008
• Children & Families Act 2014
• Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, amended July 2013 and April 2014
• Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards 2011
• Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 4: Fostering Services 2011
• Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010
• Care Planning, Placement and Case Review and Fostering Services (Miscellaneous
Amendments) Regulations 2013
• Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations
2015
• Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement
and Case Review (2010)
• Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010
• The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to
Adulthood for Care Leavers (Revised May 2014 and January 2015)
• Equality Act 2010
• Human Rights Act 1998
• Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care 2012
• Working Together to Safeguard Children – a guide to inter-agency working to
safeguard and promote the welfare of children (March 2015)
• Assessment and approval of foster carers: Amendments to the Children Act 1989
Guidance and Regulations. Volume 4: Fostering Services July 2013
• Delegation of Authority to Carers: Amendments to the Children Act 1989 (July 2013)
• Promoting the Education of Looked After Children – Statutory Guidance for Local
Authorities 2014 Statutory Guidance on Children who Run Away or go Missing from
Home or Care (revised January 2014)
• Statutory Guidance on promoting the Health and Wellbeing of Looked After Children
March 2015
• Children’s Bill 2013
• UN Rights of the Child
• Disability Equality Act 2010


GLF is an independent fostering agency that provides fostering services for looked after
children and young people. We believe that that children should be brought up with the birth
family. However, this is not always possible as some children and young people are not able
to grow up with their birth family. We recruit and train foster families to care for these
children until they reach an age where they can look after themselves. Our foster carers
reflect the spectrum of families in our society and may be single, married or in a relationship,
have a disability, may be of any culture or ethnicity, have children of their own, step children
or no children at all; some are people of religious faith and some who do not practise a faith.
GLF recruits foster carers from different backgrounds, cultures and religions to ensure that
choice is available to local authorities when seeking suitable placements. GLF also recruit
foster carers who are employed and ensure there are necessary support systems in place to
ensure carers are able to balance work with meeting the needs of the child. A strong
emphasis is placed on supporting foster carers so that they can undertake their
responsibilities to a high standard and ensure children and young people are safeguarded.
We believe that every individual has the intrinsic right to have his or her basic needs met in a
respectful and supportive manner. Families deserve every reasonable opportunity to
preserve their family unit and we recognise that the family is the foundation of our
community. We believe that children living in nurturing, stable environments will mature into
healthy productive members of society. GLF seeks to deliver and develop further a fostering
service where there is respect and recognition of the ethnic origin, cultural background,
religion, language of children and young people, their families and foster carers.


Aims, Objectives and Principles of Greater London Fostering
GLF believes that children’s needs are best met in the context of a nurturing family and
that with appropriate support all children can benefit from a family life.


Although set up to recruit, train and support Foster Carers the organisation’s paramount
concern will always be to meet the needs of those children referred to it for services. Our core
aim is to provide safe, high quality foster care placements for children and young people that
value, support and encourage them to grow and develop as individuals. As well as promoting
their health and general well-being, the agency is committed to ensuring that foster carers
are encouraged to help children and young people to reach their full potential and maximum
academic ability.


We believe that every child or young person should have the opportunity to reach their full potential
and follow their dreams, and that neither should be impeded by being a looked after child. We
therefore actively promote the ideal of positive aspirations across all aspects of our care to ensure
that our children and young people are fully supported, and encouraged to believe that they can be
successful and to be aspirational with their vision for their future.


It is our expectation that foster carers will work in partnership with us to encourage our children and
young people to be the best that they can be by nurturing them in an aspirational environment
whereby the child or young person is empowered to fully explore opportunities, engage in education
and extra-curricular activities which will build the self-confidence, self-belief and identify talents and
interests. Our supervising social worker will work with foster carers to ensure that a positive
aspirations ethos is promoted.


Foster carers will have safe caring statements to support them to provide good safe parenting
for all children and young people who are looked after. Children and young people will be
consulted and encouraged to actively participate in their care and family life. We are
committed to ensuring that the service offered is based on statutory requirements, sound
principles and good practice. Our core objectives are:

• To develop an overall fostering service where there is respect for and recognition of
the importance of the ethnic origin, cultural background, religion, language of children
and young people and their families and foster carers.
• To promote effective working partnership with other agencies, local authorities /
health and social services, parents, foster carers, to achieve the best possible
outcomes for looked after children. Foster Carers, Supervising Social Workers and
other professionals involved will work together to implement a child/young person
care plan as directed by the placing local authority.
• To ensure that when matching placements, consideration is given to the gender,
religion, ethnicity and disability of young people prior to any placement being made
with GLF foster carers.
• To respect and promote the racial, religious, cultural and linguistic backgrounds of
foster carers and the children and young people. To provide a sensitive approach and
respect for other cultures and diversity in promoting the needs of such individuals
within our agency and community.
• To promote effective partnerships between all key parties in the childcare team and
in particular to ensure that all planning and collaborative working is in the best
interests of the child/young person who is fostered.
• To provide stability in the lives of children and young people in our care and enable
them to fulfil their potential and aspirations.
• Commitment and focus on continuous service improvement, quality assurance and
high-quality service provision.
• To value diversity by aiming to recruit and retain a wide range of carers from diverse
backgrounds so that GLF can offer appropriate placements for children and young
people.
• To promote a child-centred approach where the child or young person’s safety and
welfare comes first.
• To ensure that the views of children and young people placed with our foster carers
are regularly sought and given due consideration, irrespective of gender, race, sexual
orientation, disability etc.
• To ensure that all foster carers have access to and attend regular, on-going training
and support groups and encourage them to comply with national standards. To
acknowledge the hard work, skills and knowledge of our foster carers and provide
them with a high level of support, training and encouragement.
• To support all foster carers in remaining child focused whilst working with and
alongside birth families.
• To provide all foster carers with regular supervision (at least every 4 weeks),
monitoring and support in order that the child/young person’s aspirations and
opportunities are maximised and that the foster carers are constantly meeting the
child/young person’s emotional/achieving outcomes. The foster carers are provided
guidance and are supported by a fully qualified designated supervising social worker
(SSW).
• To guarantee a commitment to support ongoing plans for fostered children by
supporting transitional stages, such as reunification with birth families or on to semi-independent living or Staying Put.
• To guarantee a commitment to working in partnership with all those involved in
planning and providing for each child or young person’s care. This includes local
authorities, birth families, the children or young people, foster carers, health
professionals, education providers and other relevant professionals, individuals or
organisations.
• To ensure that children and young people are regularly seen and spoken to by the SSW
(at least every 8 weeks)
• To provide 24-hour support for foster carers and the children or young people in their
care, 7 days a week.
GLF strongly believe that education is critical to the future of all young people. Every effort
will be made to help them fulfil their educational potential. In support of education
attainment and attendance, the Agency has an Education Consultant and Children’s
Champion, who is able to support foster carers with any educational concerns that may arise.
GLF is committed to working sensitively and inclusively within the community we serve. GLF
staff and Foster Carers will promote the best possible quality of contact between children and
families. GLF will (whenever it is consistent with a child’s care plan) work in partnership with
the placing local authority and the child’s family towards maintaining and strengthening the
child’s family relationships with a view to rehabilitation.
Children who move on, whether they are returning to their birth family or to another
placement should be able to take with them the memory of a positive experience whilst living
with their GLF Foster Carers.


The Standards of Care to be followed by the Agency
Each foster carer is allocated to an SSW to share responsibility for the work of each of its
foster families. Foster Carers have access to telephone advice twenty-four hours a day 365
days of the year. Social workers and/or a manager is permanently available to provide
support to the twenty-four-hour service. There is a dedicated team for out of hours referrals.
Children in placement are seen regularly by the carer’s supervisor. Their right to complain is
explained to them in an age appropriate way at an early stage of their placement. When age
appropriate they are given a copy of GLF’s Children’s or Young Persons Guide, when there is
a need identified it will be translated to other languages.
Foster families are expected to maintain clean and comfortable accommodation and to
provide appropriate food at all times. They must ensure that the children in their care have
adequate pocket money, clothing, toys and other personal possessions.
Foster Carers must do everything they can to support the child’s cultural identity, preserve
pre-existing religious affiliations and promote the child’s general self-esteem.
Foster Carers must promote regular school attendance whenever possible and take positive
steps to achieve educational continuity and achievement for the children in their care. They
should where appropriate assist the child’s social worker in arranging local education
and should always encourage children to fulfil their potential.


Foster Carers must ensure that children are registered with a local GP within one week of
placement. They are responsible for identifying and following up health concerns in
consultation with their supervising social worker, the child’s social worker and if appropriate
the child’s family.
All Foster Carers are responsible for identifying and arranging suitable leisure activities for
the children they care for.


Foster Carers are responsible for children’s safety whilst in their care. They attend training on
the subject and regularly check their homes for health and safety risks and take remedial
action where necessary. They are responsible for implementing the recommendations of their
supervisor.


Foster Carers are responsible for ensuring that foster children only travel in properly
maintained and insured vehicles and always wear seat belts whilst traveling by car. They
should ensure that their fostering activities are compatible with their domestic and motor
insurance policies.
Foster children should not normally be left alone in the home unless this has been agreed
with the young person’s social worker or the foster carer has been given delegated authority
to make this decision. They should not stay with friends away from the foster home overnight
without the permission of their social worker unless the Foster Carer has been given
delegated authority to agree such stays.

Foster Carers must not agree to any plan which might involve significant risk. Any such plan
must be agreed in advance by the child’s social worker, unless the foster carer has been given
delegated authority to agree such activities.

Foster families should identify regular baby sitters who can be checked by the Disclosure
Barring Service and vetted by GLF. Foster children should not be left with babysitters who
have not been checked by the agency unless they have delegated authority to use such a
babysitter.

As a general rule all children or young people placed with GLF foster carers are expected to
be included in plans for family holidays. Where this is inappropriate or where planned breaks
are agreed as necessary GLF will make alternative plans in cooperation with the placing
authority.

Foster families should not arrange holidays or overnight stays away from home without prior
consultation with and the agreement of the foster child’s social worker unless they have
delegated authority to arrange such stays.

GLF want to promote positive parenting. Foster Carers should always concentrate on the
importance of rewarding good behaviour rather than simply reacting to misbehaviour.
Foster Carers must not in any circumstances use any form of physical chastisement, or use
any sanctions which includes any form of humiliation to the children in their care. Foster
Carers must refrain from using any measure of control, restraint or discipline which could be
considered excessive or unreasonable. Our directive is dialogue at all times with children and
young people with the aim to de-escalate and defuse any situation.

Where the use of physical restraint is used as the last resort, to prevent immediate serious
risk or harm of the child or another person, the Foster Carers should make a written record
of the circumstances and tell their supervising social worker what has happened immediately.
Foster Carers should expect to be questioned about and advised on any or all their domestic
arrangements which impact on children, both by their supervising social worker and
representatives of the placing local authority.

GLF Foster Carers and staff will seek to work in cooperation with the placing authority.
Within the framework of the child’s care plan, Foster Carers must be prepared to promote to
the best possible quality of contact between children and their families.

All foster carers are required to attend First Aid and Safeguarding training every three years.

The Services and Facilities to be provided by the Fostering Service
GLF can offer the following: –
1. Emergency, short, medium- and long-term placements
2. Assessment and bridging placements
3. Respite and holiday placements
4. Placements for sibling groups
5. Ethnic diversity in placement
6. Parent and child placements
7. Placements which prepare children for independence
8. Enhanced fostering
9. Remand Fostering Arrangements

GLF offers Foster Carers:
1. Twenty-four-hour telephone access to their supervisor
2. Regular visits and supervision by their supervisor
3. Efficient financial systems
4. On-going training and development in line with a regularly agreed individual plan.
5. Regular agency social activities.

The Status and Constitution of the Agency
GLF is a conventional limited company set up in 2002.
The Management Structure of the Agency
The agency has two Directors, Linda Norwood and Richard Norwood. Marcella Denis is the
Registered Manager. Melanie Yearwood is The Operations Manager and Responsible
Individual.

A Description of the Agency’s Foster Carers, their number and the numbers
recruited
GLF currently (July 2021) has 125 foster families
The agency has recruited 394 families since setting up in 2002.

The number of Children placed by the Agency
The agency has 129 children in placement at the time of writing this statement.
The process for recruiting and approving Foster Carers

Foster Carers are recruited by personal recommendation and direct advertising. When the
agency is approached by a prospective applicant they are visited by a member of staff. Or an
experienced Foster Carers who assesses and discusses with the applicant/s the feasibility of
them becoming Foster Carers.

Prospective applicants are then invited to attend the next GLF Skills to Foster training course.
Preparatory training runs on a monthly basis. GLF seek to recruit applicants who have suitable
or transferable core skills, which can be nurtured and supported into the role of approved
Foster Carers. The course is jointly facilitated by a social worker or manager and where
possible one of the agencies more experienced Foster Carers. As part of the training
prospective applicants are given the opportunity to meet other Foster Carers and are
encouraged to attend further foster carer training to develop their knowledge during the
assessment process.

Applicants who wish to continue with their application are then invited to complete and
return the application form.

Full assessments are undertaken on prospective applicants by experienced, qualified social
workers, using the BAAF form F format.

Applicant families are visited in their homes as well as in virtual sessions on at least six
occasions and each individual in the application is separately interviewed.

Applicants are expected to contribute written material towards their assessment and thirdparty evidence of their child care experience is obtained.

In addition to providing written references, some personal referees are visited or interviewed
virtually by the assessing social worker.

Photo Evidence of the applicant’s identity is required e.g. passport, driving licence. Enhanced
DBS (formerly known as criminal records bureau) and other statutory checks are undertaken on all applicants. The agency is registered to undertake its own DBS checks.
All applicants who are felt to be unsuitable during the assessment are told in writing the
reasons for the discontinuation of the assessment process.
Applicants who successfully complete the assessment and training / preparation are
presented to the GLF fostering panel with a recommendation for approval as a GLF Foster
Carer.
Following approval, the Foster Carer signs the GLF foster care agreement which commits the Foster Carer and the agency to certain ways of working which include:
1. Adherence to GLF philosophy and working practices
2. A learning and development programme which includes regular attendance at training
events and support meetings.
3. Annual review and appraisal.
4. Comply with all safeguarding and Health and Safety Requirements.
5. To proactively support the care planning of Looked After Children and optimise the
‘life chances’ for all GLF Looked After Children.
GLF services is registered at the following:
Address: 20-22 Gipsy Hill, London, SE19 1NL
Telephone Number: 0208 347 8741

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