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Statement of Purpose

Introduction

This Statement of Purpose has been developed in accordance with appropriate statute law and regulations, including:

  • National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services
  • The Care Standards Act 2000
  • The Fostering Services Regulations (England 2011)

This document aims to provide children and young people, parents, Carers, staff and all other relevant professionals with information in regards to the agency and the types of services and facilities we are able to provide.

These include:

  • Information regarding services and facilities provided by Aim High Fostering Services Ltd.
  • A statement of aims and objectives of Aim High Fostering Services.
  • Complaints, Behavioural Management and Missing child Policies

A copy of this statement is readily available to:

  • Employees of Aim High Fostering Services Ltd (AHFS)
  • Approved and prospective Foster Carer for AHFS.
  • Employees of Local Authorities, Ofsted, or any childcare organisation.
  • The general public, via the AHFS website (to be hosted in the forthcoming year)

Aim High Fostering Services Statement of Purpose will be reviewed annually by the Senior Management Team

Aims and Objectives

Aims and Objectives

Aims

At Aim High Fostering Services (AHFS) our primary aim is to provide children in care with a stable, secure and nurturing family environment because we believe that the very best environment for a child to grow up in is a family. The needs and welfare of the child is paramount at all times and our service reflects this. We recruit and fully train competent Foster Carers from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds in order to deliver a fully inclusive, holistic approach in supporting children and young people. By implementing the National Minimum Standards we ensure the physical, mental, emotional and educational welfare of our looked-after children is of the utmost importance and we strive to exceed the expectations outlined in the ‘Fostering Services National Minimum Standards & Regulations 2011’

Objectives

  • Ensure that only competent Foster Carers are recruited and full assessment and training is provided.
  • Ensure Foster Carers reflect a broad section of society and the local community.
  • Ensure all Foster Carers are fully supported 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and have access to continual professional development throughout their career.
  • Deliver foster placements that provide looked after children with a caring, safe and secure environment, free from abuse, neglect, exploitation and deprivation where they can achieve their full potential.
  • Offer individually tailored placements and to ensure children and young people are carefully matched to best meet their needs.
  • Ensure children and young people receive quality, consistency and continuity in all aspects of their family life including Foster Carer, Social Worker education and health.
  • Provide opportunities for children and young people to remain with their siblings and to facilitate regular contact with immediate or extended family members and close friends.
  • Prepare young people with the necessary competencies and skills in preparation for adult living, thus enabling a smooth transition when leaving care to independent or semi-independent living.
  • Ensure all staff and Foster Carers are trained to the highest standard and receive regular and on-going training, including relevant up-to-date legislation and safeguarding procedures.
  • Ensure all Foster Carers receive additional training and guidance in regards to special needs placements, including children and young people with disabilities and teenagers dealing with issues such as gang affiliation, drugs, sexual exploitation and self-harming.
  • Provide additional training for all household members, including children of fostering families on issues such as; safer caring, managing difficult behaviour and situations, boundaries, feelings and general support.
  • Provide Foster Carers with training and resources to support children and young people who are new to the UK and have English as an additional language.
  • To provide in-house support groups for looked after children and young people and to provide support sessions on issues pertaining to their needs.
  • Consult with children and young people and Foster Carers. Ensure their views are listened to and considered in services and future planning.
  • To provide a pro-active, responsive and professional service to Foster Carers, children and young people and commissioning authorities.
  • Continue forming strong working relationships with existing and potential Local Authorities by offering high-quality foster placements.
  • Value diversity and ensure our work is undertaken in an equal opportunity environment.
  • Aim High Fostering Services will continually review its service and self-evaluate in order to meet all the legal requirements and exceed the standards laid down in fostering regulations.

Philosophy, Status and Constitution

At Aim High Fostering Services (AHFS), our philosophy is simply that want to make a positive difference to the lives of the children and young people in our care. We believe that the child’s family is the preferred place for a child to live, but where a child needs to be looked after outside the family, there should be no compromise in the provision of high-quality care.

Children have a right to be safe, protected, treated with respect and dignity and have their heritage promoted. The Carers, parents and relatives of all looked after children also have a right to be kept informed, involved and consulted and have the right to be treated with respect, without being judged.

We want every child and young person in placement to achieve their full potential within a stable, safe, caring family environment, therefore we carefully select Carers who we feel reflect our agency’s ethos. In doing this, we ensure we provide the highest quality foster care services.

We strive to work in effective partnership by offering dedicated and professional support to Local Authorities, Foster Carers and children in placements.

Our staff are experienced and suitably qualified and are up to date and knowledgeable regarding legislation and current good practice regarding fostering.

Our Foster Carers receive an excellent support package as standard. This includes a 24 hour on- call telephone service, monthly one to one supervision meetings and support from qualified Social Workers, support groups and peer support. The placement will be additionally supported to promote stability through respite arrangements, outreach, mentoring and additional supervision.

We at AHFS value diversity and implement a stringent equal opportunities policy. We actively promote the racial, cultural, religious and linguistic heritage of all children and young people in our care. We are an inclusive agency that listens to the views of our young people and Foster Carers.

We ensure that the values we want to promote are embedded within our policies and training so that all involved in the agency are able to provide the best possible support to young people.

Our policies and procedures are clear and consistent. Children/young people and Foster Carers receive accurate information about the work of the agency. Comprehensive support structures and frameworks enable AHFS to operate an effective and efficient client focused service whereby we can exceed standard expectations.

We actively self-regulate our service and maintain openness to ongoing critical evaluation. We welcome comments from the children/young people, Carers, staff, independent workers, placing authorities, panel members and any who have a contribution to make.

All new children and young people receive a welcome pack to help them understand what they can expect from our service, and their Foster Carers, including information regarding guidance and support. This helps prepare them for the life changes they are experiencing. The welcome pack will also provide contact details of organisations that offer advice and guidance should they have any queries or concerns.

At Aim High our focus is to strive to exceed all statutory and guidance requirements; providing quality placements for children and young people that reflect excellent practice.

Aim High Fostering Services is an independent fostering provider that was established in June 2015. It is a private limited company and will be registered and inspected by Ofsted.

The Agency’s office is situated at:

Biz Space

121 Brooker Road

Waltham Abbey

Essex

EN9 1JH

The company’s registration number is: 08927857

Aim High Fostering Services Ofsted registration is: 1241499

Management Structure

Responsible Individual & Quality Assurance Officer – Tamara Marsh

  • Post Graduate Certificate (Leadership & Management Practice) 10/10 to 07/11
  • Post Graduate Certificate (Social Work Research & Evaluation) 09/05 to 10/08
  • Master of Arts in Social Work 09/02 to 06/04
  • Diploma in Social Work
  • Batchelor of Arts in Social Science 09/83 to 06/87
  • Montessori Teaching Diploma Nursery/Junior 09/78 to 06/80

Registered Manager & Principle Supervising Social WorkerRoxanne Artrey – Henry

Roxanne is the Registered Manager at Aim High Fostering Services.

She began her career in market research within the retail and financial services sector, upon leaving university. She made the decision to change careers after becoming a parent and foster carer in 2000. After starting her sponsored social work training in 2002 within her home borough and subsequently qualifying as a child care social worker in 2004, she remained working within a statutory child care social work role –  overseeing care proceedings and supporting children in foster care and at home.  She later went on to work for an IFA as a senior practitioner where she provided staff supervision for 3 years.

Roxanne then returned to another local authority, where she worked in the Fostering and Adoption Team, undertaking adoption recruitment and assessment for older children as part of a special project.  From 2004, Roxanne then progressed to Management and panel membership within an IFA, before moving to be a Team Manager at another local authority’s Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team.

From there, Roxanne joined Aim High in June 2020.

Roxanne holds post qualifications in social work and the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care, Children and Young People’s Management, awarded in 2018.

Roxanne supervises the supervising social workers at Aim High. She also has some involvement with the Participation Officer role and recruitment of new foster carers.

Director& Office ManagerDebbie Burns

  • CACHE Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Social Care and Children and Young People’s Services (England) (QCF)
  • Level 3 Health and Social Care – Focused on Quality Provision (FQP)
  • Experienced Specialist Foster Carer
  • Training Support and Development Standards for Foster Care 2012
  • Former Trust Manager at The Ben Kinsella Trust
  • Level 4 Supporting Children in an Educational Environment – Open University
  • Level 2 Raising the Achievement Levels in Ethnic Minority Children and Young People – Accredited to University of Greenwich

Aim High Fostering Services promotes close communication and cohesion throughout the company. The company is currently in its infancy and as it expands, further staff will be employed.

In addition to the permanent staff, there will be additional professionals who work for AHFS on an independent, self-employed basis. All our staff will hold the relevant qualifications required for their roles and will have previous experience/specialist training related to the work they are undertaking. This enables a flexible and individual approach to service provision.

All staff that are employed by AHFS in any capacity will be covered by appropriate professional indemnity and public liability insurance.

Fostering Panel

Aim High Fostering Services (AHFS) maintains a carefully selected central list of persons suitable to sit on fostering panels in accordance with the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011.

The Fostering Panel consists of five to ten members who have a variety of expertise and knowledge including social work, youth offending, health, education and experience of being in care. Our Panel members have a balance of gender, qualifications and ethnicity that reflect our commitment in bringing together individuals from different backgrounds.

The function of the Panel is to provide an independent quality assurance role recommending whether the potential Carers presented to them are suitable to become good Foster Carers. Our overriding objectives are to promote and safeguard the welfare of children in foster care.

The final decision for approval is made by the Agency Decision Maker—a senior manager who is social work qualified. If the Foster Carers are unhappy with the final decision, they have a right to appeal. This can be made directly to the agency or to the Independent Review Mechanism.

Foster Care Agreements are completed following approval, covering a range of contractual information including:

  • To care appropriately for children & young people in placement, as identified in the foster placement agreement.
  • To inform AHFS of any relevant significant changes to their household or details.
  • To follow procedures laid down within the agency’s handbook

All Foster Carers are given a Foster Carer’s Handbook for reference and guidance upon approval.

Standards of Care

At Aim High Fostering the welfare and needs of the child are always at the forefront of our services. We maintain a clear focus on promoting and safeguarding the emotional and physical welfare of all children and young people in our care. We work with all stakeholders to ensure children and young people are given maximum opportunity to fully develop in all areas and achieve their potential. We encourage and support the maintenance of family contacts and promote educational achievement.

Our definition of good work and safe practice is highlighted throughout our key documents:

  • Foster Carer’s Handbook
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Staff Handbook

Aim High Fostering will ensure we promote equality and diversity at all times when recruiting, completing assessments and when matching placements and providing outreach support. We will endeavour to adhere to statutory requirements and nationally recognised standards of care and codes of practice, which include:

  • Children Act 1989 and 2004
  • Children and Young Persons Act, 2008
  • Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011
  • Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2015
  • The Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015
  • The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review and Fostering services Miscellaneous Amendments) regulations 2013
  • Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010
  • Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards (2011)
  • Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 4: Fostering Services (2011)
  • Assessment and Approval of Foster Cares: Amendments to the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 4: Fostering Services (July 2013)
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children: A Guide to Inter-Agency Working to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children (March 2015)
  • Promoting the Education of Looked After Children: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities (July 2014)
  • Promoting the Health and Wellbeing of Looked After Children: Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups and NHS England (March 2015)

(please note: this list is not exhaustive)

Service Provision

Aim High Fostering Service works in partnership with Local Authorities and we strive to offer a wide range of placements. We appreciate that every child’s situation is unique and therefore we offer different types of foster care to meet their needs. That can range from somewhere to stay for a few days in an emergency, or a home for years to come. We provide secure and appropriate placements for all children and young people from birth to adulthood, of all nationalities, ethnicities and religions. The different types of placements we provide include:

Mainstream Fostering Placements include:

Emergency placement: Emergency Foster Carers will need to be prepared to take a child into their home at any time of the night or day and have them stay for a few days. This type of fostering is used at short notice i.e. same day placement. For example, if a lone parent is taken into hospital and there is no one to care for their child.

Bridging Placement: This is a short term, flexible placement focusing on ensuring the most sensitive transition for the child, into and from the placement.

Short-term placement: This can mean anything from an overnight stay to a period of several months. Short-term Foster Carers provide a temporary place to stay until the child can return home to their own family or a longer-term fostering placement or adoption, special guardianship order (SGO) arrangement can be made.

Long-term placement: Sometimes children will not be able to go back to live with their own families for a number of years, if at all. Long-term fostering allows children and young people to stay in a family where they can feel secure, while maintaining contact with their birth family.

Sibling Placements: These are placements where siblings are either placed together or separately with us facilitating contact between siblings.

Respite / Short break: Also known as ‘shared care’, this covers a variety of different types of part-time care. You might have a child to stay for anything from a few hours each week to a couple of weekends each month, giving their own family or their full time Foster Carers a break.

Newly Arrived and Unaccompanied Minors: These are placements for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and young people. Caring for these children will include helping them with immigration, education, supporting their religious beliefs and helping them integrate with community and faith groups which will support their language and cultural needs. Often these children and young people arrive with no or very limited knowledge of the English language.

Specialist Fostering Placements include:

Solo Placements: These placements are required when a child needs to be the only looked after children in the fostering household. They are cared for by highly experienced Carers who are able to support a child with very complex needs and/or challenging behaviour.

Parent and Child: Specially trained Foster Carers will take the parent(s) and baby into their home, usually for a specified period of time. A bespoke package of care is agreed with the Local Authority, depending on identified needs, risks and the legal status of the parent and the child.

Support care: There are a growing number of schemes which help to prevent children or young people coming into the care system by offering their families support before difficulties escalate to a point where the family can no longer manage. Foster Carers offer part-time care to provide both the children and their family with a break. Arrangements are made to suit the needs of the family.

Youth Justice fostering: Some young people need Foster Carers who can provide a supportive family environment while they are awaiting criminal court proceedings, have been bailed or have recently left a Young Offender’s Institute

Placements for children and young people with disabilities: These placements are for children and young people with disabilities and disorders such as: learning/mental/physical/behavioural/emotional/social/ADHD and Autism. Additional training and support is provided to Foster Carers who choose to undertake these types of placements and the Form F Assessment will identify those prospective Carer’s who demonstrate experience and capabilities in looking after this vulnerable client group.

Carers can expect an extensive support package to ensure the needs of the child are met as well as feeling fully supported themselves.

At Aim High Fostering Services, we carefully match all placements to ensure the needs of the child/children are fully met. We always consider the experience, skills and suitability of our Foster Carers before placing a child and this ensures the success and longevity of the placement.

Supporting Children and Young People

At Aim High Fostering Services (AHFS) all children and young people in placement are seen by an allocated Supervising Social Worker at least every two months. Whilst visits to the Foster Carer’s home are arranged every month, Supervising Social Workers will ask for the looked after child/children to be present every other visit to develop a relationship and enhance safeguarding practices and report for the placement.

During the monthly supervisions dimensions of care provided to the child/young person are addressed, including ways to support the child’s development, stay healthy, achieve positive outcomes and prepare for successful, independent life. We ensure that the best interests of our children and young people are being safeguarded and promoted at all times and with the child’s participation, identify further services that are appropriate to promote their physical, mental and emotional welfare.

The range of services available to children and young people include:

  • Supervised contact with families and external family members when required.
  • Support to access full education/training opportunities and health services.
  • Culture/identity awareness.
  • Assistance to pursue a hobby or activity.
  • Life story or permanency preparation.
  • Education and Therapeutic support, including home-tutoring for excluded pupils.
  • Mentoring services.
  • Support and group work in relation to gang affiliation, use of weapons and drug/alcohol substance misuse.
  • Working with offending behaviour.
  • Support sessions for unaccompanied asylum seekers.
  • Access to national organisations for looked after children and young people.
  • Leaving care advice information, guidance and support.
  • To facilitate the opportunities for day trips and ‘get-togethers’ e.g. Christmas Panto, summer BBQ, trip to the seaside, offering social time and new experiences.
  • Advocacy

All children and young people in placement are given the contact details and telephone numbers of their Carer, Local Authority Social Worker, the ‘out of hours’ (Emergency) Duty Social Worker, their allocated AHFS Supervising Social Worker and the telephone numbers of national help lines and Emergency Services.

Supporting Placement

At Aim High we recognise and value the important contribution our Foster Carer’s make to a looked after child’s life. We are therefore dedicated in ensuring all Carer’s are provided with a high level and wide range of services and support. This enables and equips them to fully meet the needs of children and young people in placement.

We realise there may be a time in a Foster Carer’s life when personal issues have an impact on their role as a Foster Carer. This may be due to their personal history, family circumstances or health and would benefit from additional support in their own right. In this instance we would offer support by sourcing specialist services: i.e. Relate or Bereavement Counselling.

Our package of support increases placement stability and improves recruitment and retention of Foster Carers.

  • A designated Supervising Social Worker in regular and flexible contact.
  • Access to 24-hour duty support throughout the year.
  • Therapeutic advice and support for Carers.
  • Educational advice and support.
  • Provide on-line information, resources and advice to Carers.
  • Membership to Fostering Network, benefits for all immediate family member over 18 years include:
  • Legal insurance protection cover
  • Advice from an independent body
  • Up to £1250.00 for an interview under caution
  • Up to £50,000 for a criminal prosecution
  • Up to £10,000 for a civil prosecution
  • Up to £2,000 to appeal against the judgement of a tribunal
  • Access for independent advice 24 hrs a day in relation to allegations against Foster Carers, medical advice and counselling.
  • Festival and birthday allowance.
  • Respite and Holiday allowance.
  • Use of Aim High caravan for a short break
  • Outreach and mentoring services to support our children and young people in placement.
  • Foster Carer’s Handbook.
  • Comprehensive on-going training programme for Foster Carers.
  • A monthly self-help/support group for Foster Carers and on-line AHFS newsletter
  • Financial advice regarding Tax, pensions

Recruitment, Training and Development

Foster Carers

Aim High Fostering Services (AHFS) is committed to recruiting fostering Carers from diverse backgrounds. We want our Carers to reflect the local community and to have an understanding of the cultural and religious needs of the children and young people that are placed with the agency. By doing this we can ensure that more choice is available to local authorities when seeking suitable placements.

In order to attract potential foster parents, we have identified media that has proved to be effective. This includes:

  • Local Newspapers advertising in the London area.
  • Incentivising existing foster parents to identify other friends / relatives who might wish to foster.
  • Face to face recruitment at local job centres and community/ religious events.
  • Social Media – currently this appears to be a very effective way to recruit and Aim high is developing a presence on several Social Media platforms.

We regularly monitor the effectiveness of our recruitment strategy in terms of number, type and quality of applicant to establish where we need to make changes and improve. When dealing with applications to foster, the agency completes the following procedures:

  • All new fostering enquiries are screened to ensure that there are no obvious reasons why individuals should not foster and can offer sufficient accommodation and time to provide care.
  • There is an initial home visit and once suitability has been established, the prospective Carer is sent an information pack and an Application form.
  • Statutory checks and references are undertaken. This includes an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for the applicant and all adults living in the household.
  • Applicants attend Skills to Foster training course and suitability to foster is confirmed.
  • A qualified Social Worker then carries out a structured assessment using a Form F template. This process usually involves 8-12 home visits and information is gathered regarding the prospective Carer/s childhood and experience of being parented, current lifestyle, skills and experience of looking after children. Additional references from various sources including health information and enhanced DBS checks will be required. All household members are interviewed.
  • The assessor then prepares a report for panel highlighting evidence to support suitability to foster.
  • A From F is completed and presented to the applicant, who then signs the document and the applicant is invited to Panel.
  • Panel will then make recommendations about the suitability of the applicants to foster and these findings are referred to the decision-maker who will send written confirmation to the applicant within 5 days of going to Panel.
  • Prospective foster parents can appeal against a decision within 28 days following the internal procedure or directly to the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM).

All our Foster Carers are required to attend monthly on-going training on relevant subjects, including;

  • Child Protection.
  • Caring for children who have been abused.
  • Safer Caring and Safeguarding.
  • Child Development.
  • Promoting Contact.
  • Promoting Identity and Self-esteem.
  • Valuing Diversity.
  • Attachment, Separation and Loss.
  • Managing Challenging Behaviour.
  • First Aid and Health and Safety.
  • Education of fostered children and young people.
  • Caring for children with disabilities.
  • Preparing children and young people for adulthood
  • Legislation and Regulations, Record Keeping

It is also our view that all Foster Carers who are approved should complete the Training Support and Development Standards (TSD) within the first twelve months of fostering. This ensures all our Foster Carers are equipped with the skills and knowledge to provide high quality care to the children they look after.

Aim High Staff

The skills, knowledge and experience of all staff at Aim High Fostering is the cornerstone to providing safe and effective service to children and young people. All staff are appropriately trained and qualified and selected using appropriate, safer recruitment techniques such as interviews, tests and group exercises. Their suitability is also checked through a series of referencing approaches including DBS checks, job references and qualifications checks at a minimum.

All staff members have clear role descriptions identifying their responsibilities and limits of authority and lines of accountability. At AHFS there is a significant commitment to continual professional development and all staff are required to attend relevant training. This ensures all staff are given every opportunity to build on their skills and ensures they are knowledgeable with up-to-date legislation and guidelines.

All staff participate one to one sessions every four weeks with their line manager and six-monthly appraisals where future training and development needs are identified. Team meetings are arranged every week. Staff will be offered opportunities to give feedback and implement changes and ensure the agency continues to exceed the National Minimum Standards.

AHFS has a clearly communicated whistleblowing policy that encourages all staff to contact suitable authorities should they believe that some form of mal practice may be happening. All staff participate in weekly team meetings where the organisation prioritises workload and tracks progress of improvement activities and allocates resources in support of placements.

Complaints Procedure

Aim High Fostering Service has a comprehensive complaints procedure, which is made widely available in different formats suitable for children, young people, Carers, parents and professionals.

Our complaints and allegations procedure provide a fair, transparent and effective means of dealing with any concerns raised by third parties regarding the care provided by Foster Carers or any other member of the organisation.

At the heart of the procedure is the clear understanding that the protection, welfare and interests of the child or young person must come first. There is a clear procedure which is set within realistic time frames to ensure any issue is investigated with due respect to those involved.

The organisation will regularly reflect upon and take appropriate action to improve policies, practices and procedures in order to address complaints promptly.

Dissatisfied complainants can contact the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

Ofsted
National Business Unit
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
Manchester
M1 2WD

Tel: 0300 123 1231

Enquiries@ofsted.gov.uk

For a copy of our Complaints Procedure or to make a complaint, please contact the Registered Manager on 020-3880-6715