NFA North West covers the whole of the North West region, from North Lancashire and South Cumbria down to Cheshire and the Welsh Borders. We currently work with more than 135 foster carers and over 200 children.
Thousands of young people in the North West rely on the love and support of dedicated foster families. Start your fostering journey with the NFA today, and start making a difference to vulnerable children in your area.
Ground Floor, 920 Birchwood Boulevard
Our registered office in Warrington and we serve 21 local authorities. Despite the large area we cover, we offer local support groups and training at local venues to foster carers. Our Helping Hands service provides invaluable peer support and we have two full-time sessional support workers who work with young people.
“We’ve recently had a big drive on children’s participation for both children looked after and children who foster – we have also recently appointed a youth ambassador who will support our participation strategy going forward. We want young people to have a say in how things should look in the agency and they’ve been helping us look at our policies and procedures to ensure they mean something to young people.
“During lockdown, they helped us put together a new form to give to young people coming into care, including things they want to know – whether there’s a bath or a shower, a pet, any other children in the house and so on, and a map of the local area.
“Many looked after children have had a difficult start in life, with many decisions made for and about them and very few choices. If we can give them some element of choice, we should actively promote that.”
Gill Gilgun, Registered Manager
NFA recently appointed a youth ambassador, as foster children and children who foster all play a key role in shaping policy and procedures. They are part of the panel for interviewing new social workers, attend regular events, and are planning to create their own newsletter. We hold regular events and activities for both children who are looked after and children who foster.
Our team – consisting of the registered manager, two team managers, two advanced practitioner and 12 social workers – provides 24-hour, consistent support. We have highly experienced staff from a range of different backgrounds, including child protection, so foster carers benefit from working with people who have fully-rounded knowledge and experience. Two therapists provide group and individual support sessions for foster carers.
Our foster carers particularly value the support they receive from their social workers and the close working relationships that develop as a result. During times of crisis or challenge, the team often goes above and beyond to support its fostering families. They might agree to visit during the evening or at weekends, for example, making themselves available to provide help, support, or simply to listen.
During lockdown, for example, social workers helped foster carers with shopping and held socially-distanced conversations on their driveway to ensure that people were coping and their needs were met.
We see our primary role as being to meet the needs of children and young people in whatever way we can. To ensure we deliver this, we focus on treating our foster carers as professionals and equals, making sure they are well cared for and have access to all the support and training they need.
Any problems are dealt with quickly and we are committed to learning lessons if things go wrong. A carer forum gives foster carers the opportunity to raise issues and discuss anything bothering them and we listen and respond wherever possible.
National Fostering Agency North West works in close collaboration with local authorities, advocating for them and doing whatever it can to raise their profile and the profile of fostering.
Being part of the National Fostering Group enables us to share good practice and consult with other registered managers if we need to. Our children and young people benefit from access to schemes like the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and Britannica, which would not be possible within a smaller agency. For foster carers, the National Fostering Group offers a broader range of support and training; for example if there is no dedicated support group within their area, they can access groups run by the National Fostering Group.