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Welcome to Next Step Fostering

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.

Office Details

Address
41 Stone Street
Faversham
Kent
ME13 8PH

General email
[email protected]

Opening Hours

  • Head Office
  • Training Centres
  • Support Groups

East London office:
Oakhouse
5A Wellington Road
Wanstead London
E11 2AN

Croydon office:
127 Addington Road
Selsdon
Surrey
CR2 8LH

Faversham – 01795 521 739
Croydon – 020 8768 3888
East London – 01708 209 227
Thames Valley – 01628 661 649

Who are Next Step Fostering?

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.

OFSTED report

Download our reports
Children placed with this agency’s foster carers flourish and make exceptional progress in all areas of their lives.

About Next Step Fostering

High standards

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.

Children’s activities

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.

Support for carers

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.

Specialist training

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.

Empathy

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.

Building on strong foundations

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.

Acorn Digital Learning – Bridging an Educational Gap

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.

Meet our team

Office Updates

  • Bouncing around in Essex
    Before social distancing came into force, our Romford children were busy having a great time at Jump Evolution Trampoline arena. The children had a fantastic time, playing on all the gymnastic equipment, as did our staff and helpers - some of whom had not ‘tramped’ in a decade!
  • Foster Siblings success story
    Three young siblings entered foster care nearly 2 ½ years ago and earlier this year were placed with Wendy, a Next Step foster carer with considerable experience fostering sibling groups and children with particular health and behavioural needs. “When the children first arrived with me they were very wary of adults and new environments. They had struggled to settle in with previous families which left them mistrustful and caused them to act out.” Wendy says. With patience, empathy and positive re-enforcement Wendy provided a safe and loving home in which to allow the siblings to heal, learn to trust and be children again – offering reassurance of their safety and stability. They have learnt to share and play nicely together, caring for each other and respecting adults. Their original Social Worker, who has been a constant in these children’s lives since their birth, recently visited with Wendy and the children after just 4 months in her care, and found an incredible transformation. “For the first time in a long time I saw 3 happy, relaxed and confident little children. The eldest brother was wonderful with his brother and sister, holding hands with them and trying to carry them when they were tired. His younger brother had previously been considered autistic due to his lack of communication, is now a chatty and communicative little boy. While their younger sister is now her little “Princess” self again and was not at all aggressive or disrespectful. I would like to thank Wendy for her hard work, commitment and determination as well as her patience and kindness which has helped redress the damage that had been caused to these children.” Following their time with Wendy, the children have now found an adoptive family where they can stay together and are looking forward to a very happy future in their new forever family.
  • 2021 Commemorative Carer Calendar.
    2020 was a very different and difficult year so thank goodness we had decided to do something different to commemorate it. We wanted to get the children involved in the design of something that all the Carers could enjoy for longer than just 4 weeks so we launched our Commemorative Calendar competition. All the children in our families took part and really used the opportunity to get their feelings out about lockdown, missing their friends and what or who they felt grateful for. The result has been an incredibly creative and cathartic compilation of photography, original artwork, spoken word pieces, mixed media collages and even baked creations – and not a banana bread in sight!

Start your fostering journey with National Fostering Group

  • We’re a close-knit family of independent fostering agencies
  • Over 3,000 carers are already part of our family
  • Benefit from our local support groups and social workers
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