Next Step Fostering is an independent agency founded in 1996, providing National Fostering Group services in Kent, East London, Surrey, Slough and London boroughs. With more than 70 foster carers on our register, we provide high quality foster care for more than 115 children and young people.
41 Stone Street
East London office:
5A Wellington Road
127 Addington Road
Next Step is a well-established medium-sized agency committed to providing a comprehensive level of care for foster children and fostering families across our region. This is reflected in the fact that many foster carers have been with the agency for a long time and so, too, have many of its staff.
The agency was founded by a family who had looked after foster children. Our headquarters are in the Faversham and we have additional offices in Wanstead and Croydon. We were rated as OUTSTANDING in our most recent Ofsted assessment.
I’m really proud to work for Next Step. It was founded by a family that fostered themselves and this personal touch is reflected in everything we do. We are totally child-focused and offer a high level of support to foster carers.
We also particularly appreciate and value the role played by birth children, because we recognise that people foster as a family, so if birth children are not fully on board and happy then it doesn’t work.
Our supervising social workers spend time working with birth children and foster children, ensuring they have the right level of support.
Mary Cattell, Practice Manager
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.
People from all walks of life become foster carers. You can help to inspire a generation of vulnerable children and young people to find their way in the world and help us build an incredible future for them. If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer with Next Step, please get in touch with us today.
We set high standards for foster carers and we’re proud of the way we foster children and fostering families develop and grow. We regard a warm and inclusive family home as the best possible environment for foster children and celebrate their achievements, however small.
We hold regular activity days for foster children and birth children, as well as regular engagement and wellbeing groups. Throughout lockdown, our staff went out of their way to ensure children had access to plenty of online resources, including quizzes, singing and even a virtual Christmas party. A children’s champion helped to ensure support was made available to any children who were feeling isolated and acted as their advocate.
We offer generous allowances to our fostering families, including a holiday allowance and provision for up to 16 nights’ respite throughout the year. Foster carers benefit from an out-of-hours service provided by our agency team, so they can speak to someone who knows them and their family 24/7. Alongside the support of their supervising social worker, foster carers can access the agency’s in-house counsellor any time they need it. Foster carer support groups meet regularly and all foster carers benefit from membership of The Fostering Network for expert advice and support.
We believe it is vital to equip foster carers with the skills they need to care for looked after children and young people and we provide a comprehensive training package, including specialist therapeutic training and a range of e-learning options.
Our Practice Manager spent many years working as a foster carer herself, as well as working within the local authority, and can empathise with many of the difficulties fostering families face. She can also challenge, where necessary, and help foster carers to tap into their individual skills and build their confidence. She believes many of the best foster carers are those who have faced challenges in their own life, as this gives them a resilience and understanding to support looked after children in the best possible way.
Having been family-run for many years, we have a friendly, personal approach that foster carers and staff value highly. Managers communicate regularly with fostering families and staff and there is a culture of honesty, transparency and equality. As part of the National Fostering Group, we believe we will be able to build on our strong foundations, expanding our services for foster carers through additional educational and psychological support.
The National Fostering Group have partnered with Acorn Digital Learning (ADL) to provide 8 weeks free access to their specialist online school to provide an education bridge into care.
Find out more here.