Choosing a Foster Care Agency – Why Ofsted Ratings Matter
When you’re considering becoming a foster carer, there are a lot of things you need to think about before you apply. Just as important as ensuring you are a right fit for fostering, is making sure the agency you want to foster with is a right fit for you. So how can you do this? Well, one way is to look at the agency’s Ofsted ratings.
A lot of changes have occurred in the fostering system over the past decade. There has thankfully been a crackdown in regulations, ensuring the children entering the foster system are in safe, capable hands. These rules and regulations also help to protect carers and one way they are monitored is via Ofsted inspections.
Heath Farm is proud to have received outstanding Ofsted ratings. So what exactly does this mean and why should it make you consider fostering with us?
What is an outstanding rating?
According to Ofsted, an outstanding rating is defined as:
An agency demonstrating and exceeding the characteristics of a good judgement where children and young people are making significantly better progress and achieving more than was expected in all areas of their lives.
Why Heath Farm achieved outstanding status
Heath Farm is an independent, privately owned foster care agency with 85 young people and children currently in placements across 86 households. It has its own therapy services and educational provisions, as well as transport and support services, two respite houses and a contact suite.
Within the inspection it was recognised that Heath Farm has made significant improvements and progress since the May 2010 inspection. A large level of young people and children have gained outstanding outcomes thanks to the foster carers and staff. What really stood out was the learning culture that has been imbedded into the agency.
Foster carers are now incredibly well prepared, due to a robust, formal assessment and approval service. Training and development is ongoing, ensuring a high level of competence and that carers always have the necessary skills to carry out the best standard of care.
Finally, the outstanding status was also provided due to positive, strong relationships with local authorities. All local authorities working with the agency have been impressed with the standard of care provided to the children and young people, along with the robust monitoring and management oversight.
An agency that cares about both children and carers
In the past, children very rarely had their voices heard. However, at Heath Farm we care about what’s best for the children in our care. Therefore, before they are entered into a foster placement, we allow them to see profiles of the carer, as well as giving them the opportunity to meet the carer before they move in. This has really helped to enhance the matching process.
Our dedication to ensure children are placed into the right foster homes is largely what has helped us to achieve outstanding ratings. Many of the children in our care have even gone on to stay with their foster families past their 18th birthday.
Overall we’re proud of the progress we have made since the previous May 2010 inspection. While we are always looking to improve, we continue to dedicate our time to ensure both the child and the foster carer are comfortable and happy with the process. We are incredibly proud of all of our carers.
If you would like to join us in helping the most vulnerable children in society, contact us today. We’re always looking for new carers so we can help as many children and young people as we can.