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‘Good’ judgement for fostering service

19 February 2024

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Significant improvements to fostering services in Northamptonshire have led to their Ofsted rating rising to ‘Good’ from ‘Inadequate’ in just 12 months.

Ofsted today published their report following their weeklong inspection of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust Independent Fostering Agency (NCT IFA) last month (15 to 19 January 2024), finding that ‘since the last inspection, there have been significant improvements in how well foster carers are supported and supervised.’

Today’s Ofsted findings have been welcomed by North and West Northamptonshire Councils, which have been working closely with NCT on its journey to improve children’s services countywide.

In their report, inspectors said 'supervising social workers spend time with children on a regular basis. This has helped to improve the overall quality of relationships between children, foster carers and their supervising social workers.’  In turn this means ‘children are settled and make good progress. Many children remain with their foster carers for many years and into their adulthood.’ This leads to positive outcomes for children in giving them stability and consistency.  

They also saw that ‘The fostering agency is working hard to better understand the quality of children’s lived experiences. Care practice is now more meaningful and child centred. Children have their own separate recordings that are, overall, written in a child-friendly way.’ Evidencing that children and young people are at the heart of all that NCT do.

Inspectors saw that the fostering service are working collaboratively within NCT, saying ‘There is a better understanding and appreciation of each other’s professional roles. Collaboration between supervising social workers, children’s social workers and foster carers is improving.’

Achieving permanence for children and young people is evident and inspectors noted that ‘Managers have been creative in linking across the children’s trust to support good outcomes for children. Good relationships between the fostering agency and the voluntary adoption agency mean that children benefit from early permanence in their care.’

It is fantastic that Ofsted judge our independent fostering agency as ‘good’. Attaining this has been no mean feat and it is a real testament to the commitment and hard work of colleagues in the service to reach this.

Of course, our foster carers are critical to this and are an incredible asset, providing guidance, stability, support, and care to some of the most vulnerable children and young people.

With a huge shortage of foster carers we would encourage anyone who has been considering fostering to get in touch with us.  Our expert, friendly team will guide you through every step of the process. You could make a huge difference to the lives of children and young people in Northamptonshire.
Colin Foster, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust
I am assured by the news that Ofsted has recognised the significant improvements in our fostering service and the positive impact it is having on the children and young people that are cared for. There are few things more important than the lives of vulnerable children.

As the report states, there is still work to do, and as acknowledged in the findings, the members of the current senior leadership team have the capacity to achieve the remaining changes and developments. We will work openly and collaboratively with them to ensure this happens.
Cllr Scott Edwards, Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Education and Skills at North Northamptonshire Council
This is positive news for our children and young people, our foster carers and colleagues who work hard to improve outcomes and help give our young people the best start in life.

To see improvements in care being more child centred, for educational needs to be met and understood as well as our young people regularly taking part in extracurricular activities is all really encouraging. I am pleased to hear there are much better relationships with our foster carers as they play a vital role in helping us to improve the lives and outcomes of our children and young people – and it is absolutely necessary that they feel supported in all they do.

I would like to share my thanks to colleagues who have been committed to making necessary improvements over the last 12 months and who I am sure, will continue to support this improvement journey.
Cllr Fiona Baker, Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Education and Skills at WNC
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