We are a small, family-feel independent fostering agency based in Norfolk, covering East Anglia, Suffolk, Rayleigh, Peterborough and North Essex including Clacton. We currently work with more than 25 foster carers and over 30 children. In 2020 we joined National Fostering Group.
Safehouses Fostering is a small agency and we know all our foster families and children very well and provide high levels of support. Our foster carers appreciate the friendly, family approach and the accessibility of staff, including senior managers. Foster children are encouraged to share their views and shape our agency by participating in a quarterly forum.
It is the relationships we form with foster carers that make our agency so special – our fostering families feel tightly held and supported and we do whatever we can to equip them to do their job, whether it’s through bespoke training, supervision, support groups or buddying with more experienced foster carers.
We hold regular training reviews with each foster carer and identify specific training needs to help them to meet the needs of foster children and the behaviours they present with. Our foster carers get to know each other well and are very supportive of each other, attending regular support groups.
Joy O’Brien-Miller, Registered Manager
We offer many different types of foster care and Ofted has rated us as GOOD in our most recent assessment. 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 Safehouses, please get in touch with us today
We have a strong and cohesive staff team who work closely together. Supervising social workers don’t just get to know the foster families they supervise, but familiarise themselves with all of the foster carers so they can offer support if needed. For example, if a foster carer calls the out-of-hours service, information will have been shared with the person on call so they don’t have to explain everything from scratch. Our foster carers are encouraged to take respite breaks; we support and facilitate this if necessary.
During the pandemic, we adapted our support and training to ensure that foster carers and children could continue to participate online. This approach worked so well that numbers on fostering training programmes rose because people could access specialist courses without having to drive long distances.
The numbers participating in support groups also increased as more people were able to join online, especially foster carers with full-time jobs who had previously struggled to attend. (As we are now part of National Fostering Group, foster carers will have even more access to locally-delivered training as well as online courses after the pandemic.)
We are especially proud of the resilience and resourcefulness of our foster carers, who go out of their way to support their foster children. In return, we offer whatever support is needed to keep placements stable and ensure foster carers feel well-resourced.
Supervising social workers provide a buffer between foster carers and the local authority to allow our carers to focus on doing what they are best at – caring for foster children. This helps to achieve many excellent outcomes for children and our agency has a high number of long-term placements.
Everyone in the team is regarded as vital to the effective running of our agency and treated with understanding, respect and compassion. We are supportive and enabling, when things don’t go according to plan, staff accept responsibility and learn from what happened and embrace change.
Communication is key and the registered manager is available to provide support with difficult issues, as well as making regular visits to foster families to ensure that everything is going well. If something needs changing, we are committed to doing whatever we can to ensure the service feels supportive to all.
Foster carers frequently comment on how well-supported they feel, from administrative staff up to senior managers. This is reflected in local authority feedback about the foster carers, who frequently receive praise for their outstanding levels of care. We regard foster carers as a key part of the team and regularly seeks their point of view particularly in relation to improvements that could be made.
As one of the newest members of National Fostering Group, we are looking forward to offering a broader range of educational resources for foster children who are unable to access mainstream school. We also welcome the chance to broaden our therapeutic support to foster carers and the range of training opportunities.