We are the largest National Fostering Group agency, covering a vast geographical area incorporating the whole of London as well as Buckinghamshire, Slough, Kent, Surrey, Brighton, East and West Sussex.
10,000 children in London rely on foster carers, while others are still in need of a loving home. With our 24/7 help and support, which is rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, you can give them the help they need.
20 Riverside Way
Our large and long-standing staff team comprises managers, supervising social workers and administrative staff. We work with more than 415 foster carers and over 540 children. Many of our foster carers have been with us for a very long time.
NFA London has two guiding principles which underpin everything we do:
1. Children come first.
2. The key to success is the quality of relationships (with children, foster families, staff, local authorities and stakeholders).
We were rated Outstanding by Ofsted in 2015 and again in 2018. We excel in the outcomes we deliver for children, the way we support foster carers, the calibre of our staff and the leadership of the agency.
Our children and young people achieve educational outcomes above the national average because we put a lot of effort into supporting them. Some go to university but we also provide support for those who are less academically able. Our staff and carers are fantastic and go beyond the call of duty time and time again.
It takes money to raise children well and we pay generous fees. Despite our large size, Ofsted inspectors commented on the agency’s supportive family feel.
Tinu Ashaye, Registered Manager
We are committed to equipping foster carers with the skills and knowledge they need to support vulnerable children. We bring in specialists where appropriate, including consultant psychologists and psychotherapists, to deliver the best quality training for the region.
All new foster carers are buddied with experienced foster carers, who act as their informal support and mentor. In many cases, this link is established at the assessment stage and becomes an established and much valued relationship.
Qualified social workers meet up with foster carers regularly to provide practical support and supervision. Therapeutic support is provided for carers by consultant psychotherapists, who help carers support young people with complex emotional needs and help them deal with trauma. Practical help can also be provided alongside specialist training if needed, such as taking a child to an activity.
Out-of-hours support is provided by social workers and the management team 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Every foster carer has access to a local support group that they can attend monthly, enabling them to meet up with other foster families in their area. Membership of the Fostering Network is just one of the benefits offered to foster carers, providing helpful advice and information, including tax and legal advice.
In 2019, we began offering the Mockingbird Model to support foster carers and foster children in the south of the region. Developed to help stabilise children within their foster families, it creates ‘constellations’ of fostering households that support one another, including through regular meetings and sleepovers. The model helps to improve the sense of connection between foster carers and prevents placement breakdowns.
NFA London recognises that fostering is the role of a whole family and care is taken to recognise the role played by foster carers and birth children. Every month, two foster families are nominated to receive the Everyday Hero award.
We also give out annual long service awards and we celebrate the achievements of foster children in art, sport, music, education and other aspects of life. The children’s achievements are showcased at events throughout the year and some of them even write poems or perform.
We hold an annual carers conference, bringing foster carers and staff together to learn from visiting specialists. It is a well-attended and highly regarded event, helping to upskill staff and carers.
All foster carers have direct access to the agency’s senior management team. They are encouraged to share ideas or raise any concerns. We are keen to take the views of foster carers into consideration and hold monthly support groups and quarterly meetings with carer representatives. Senior directors attend these meetings and take action to address recommendations or concerns, wherever possible.
In February 2019, we pioneered the young people’s pledge, which has been adopted as a model across National Fostering Group and its parent company Outcomes First Group. Young people were invited to set out their expectations of the agency so they could hold managers to account. We remain keen to listen to the voice of young people and supervising social workers actively seek children and young people’s views in their work.
The agency values being part of the National Fostering Group and believes that there is strength in numbers. We particularly welcome the creation of well-being hubs for every region, with access to specialist therapeutic support for children and foster carers.