Alpha Plus is a leading independent fostering agency (part of National Fostering Group). Throughout the North West, including Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire, we provide the best possible foster families for children and young people needing a safe and happy home life.
Across Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire, we have a proven track record in high-quality foster care that leads incredible futures for generations of children and young people. We currently work with more than 50 foster carers and 60 foster children.
Our agency provides high quality, child centered services for children and young people. All of our carers are recruited, assessed, approved and reviewed in accordance with National Standards guidelines. We continue to support them throughout their placements.
Our social workers and support staff are always on hand to help our dedicated foster carers in the region with specialist support and training, equipping them with everything they need to give a child or young person a positive start in life.
“We are a community. It’s the first thing foster carers say about us. Our team members work closely together and are familiar with all the carers, their families and children placed. If you’re a foster carer and you phone the office or our ‘out of hours’ service, you’ll hear a familiar voice on the end of the phone and you’ll be speaking to someone you know and who knows you and knows your circumstances, you won’t have to explain things from scratch. That’s something our foster carers really like.
Nicola Saggerson, Carer Recruitment Officer
Starting with a three-day preparatory ‘Skills to Foster’ course, you will have the opportunity to discuss the broad issues involved in becoming a foster carer with other new applicants and experienced social workers and foster carers.
Once approved as a foster carer with Alpha Plus, you will have access to further specialist courses so you can truly develop personally and professionally. Our dedicated local support teams are on hand to help you source the most appropriate training and strategies for you.
Alpha Plus’ foster carer training courses have been cross referenced with Training, Support and Development Standards for foster carers, Every Child Matters Outcomes, and BAAF Competencies for Foster Care.
Our foster carers can claim a wide range of perks and benefits, like free membership to The Fostering Network, Max Cards, high street discounts, invitations to family activities and events, and much more.
Alpha Plus Fostering was established in 2000 and is one of the smaller agencies in National Fostering Group. Our office in Oldham employs 10 staff and we’re proud of the informal community feel.
We host a regular programme of activities and events throughout the year, including beach days, outdoor adventure courses and achievement evenings. Everyone is invited including foster children, birth children and grandchildren. Our philosophy is “we are doing a serious and important job but it’s important to have fun while we’re doing it”.
Our team has consistently ranked as a preferred independent fostering provider for local authorities across the North West for almost two decades. Our 2018 Ofsted report notes that “almost half of the children at Alpha Plus are placed with their family for long-term”.
As a Tier 1 provider to all our local authority partners, we have more and varied opportunities for foster carers than Tier 2 and Tier 3 agencies. Our foster carers have an increased chance of having regular placements, and we can more easily match the right foster carers with the right children who will benefit from their care the most.
Our agency implements a therapeutic approach and has been successful in supporting young people to move from residential care to foster families; all foster carers and staff have access to Therapeutic Parenting Training and to the Well-Being Team, who offer clinical support if required.
We aim to meet the individual needs of each child and help them to stabilise in their foster home; more than 50% of children live with their foster carers on a long-term basis and several have remained into adulthood.
Alpha Plus has a highly experienced education and support worker, who helps carers understand and implement therapeutic play for younger children affected by trauma and engages in life story work for older children.
With careful guidance, young people are supported to explore their pre-foster care experiences and the reasons why they cannot live with their birth family. They may visit the hospital where they were born or the home they first lived in, using different ways to record information, including videos and scrapbooks, this helps them gain a real sense of self and enables them to positively move forward in their lives.
Alpha Plus offers a Therapeutic Art Group to children aged 12 and above. During sessions, they explore a whole range of issues, including feelings, bullying, puberty and relationships using art as a medium for expression. Some of the participants make worry boxes and some have found creative ways to express their hopes for the future.
We are accredited by CPCAB to facilitate 10 week Level 2 Counselling Skills courses for foster carers, thus supporting carers’ professional development and enhancing the care and support they offer to children placed with them.
Alpha Plus is committed to providing professional support with a friendly face. We arrange foster carer support groups in Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, which provide an opportunity to build valuable peer support networks. More than 30% of our foster carers are single people, so this informal support network is an important benefit. Many of our carers have developed mutually supportive friendships and meet regularly outside of formal meetings.
Applicants being assessed to become foster carers, are allocated a ‘buddy’ who is an experienced foster carer. Buddies provide valuable support through the assessment and in the early days following approval; they can introduce newly approved carers to their peers and attend support groups meetings with them if required.
The resilience of our foster carers is something we are particularly proud of. We believe the willingness and preparedness of foster families to ‘stick with’ fostered children through thick and thin is the reason we have so many excellent outcomes, including children going to university, going into the armed forces or studying for apprenticeships.
We form a solid team with our foster families, providing hands-on support that is both professional and friendly.
Our success is founded on strong working relationships. All staff attend a monthly Team Meeting and anyone can suggest topics for the agenda. Foster carers have their own Carer Forum, which meets with managers regularly to suggest ideas, review processes and air any concerns.
Foster families have good relationships with their supervising social workers, each of whom cares for a maximum of 14 families. This allows supervising social workers to gain great insight into the carers and childrens lives and allows capacity for them to build positive and productive working relationships. Any problems generally are initially raised with social workers and we are committed to responding immediately to resolve issues before they escalate.
Alpha Plus Fostering values being able to retain our small, community focus at the same time as being part of National Fostering Group, with all the wider advantages this offers. We believe this group backing gives us the tools and resources to do a better job and provides benefits for foster carers that would not have been possible otherwise. Our foster carers particularly value the quality of training that is now available and the fact there are several local training venues, making training easily accessible to all carers.