UK Fostering has reaffirmed its status as one of Britain’s most reputable, trusted and successful fostering agencies after securing a rare clean sweep of ‘outstanding’ grades from The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted).
The latest government reports show that UK Fostering is providing high-calibre services that far surpassed standards expected - ranking the independent organisation among the best of its kind in the country.
Recent Ofsted inspections found UK Fostering excelled in every area - with the agency providing rewarding experiences, protecting children, and demonstrating effective management/leadership.
UK Fostering supports families caring for vulnerable children who are unable to safely live with their birth parents, covering London, the South-East, the Midlands and the North-West (with a separate office in North-East England). Collaborating with regional bodies to help children of various backgrounds, UK Fostering has spent almost a decade changing lives through emergency, short-term, long-term care for children of all background and ages including children with disabilities, unaccompanied asylum seekers, parent and child amongst others.
Ofsted conducts regular inspections of independent foster agencies under the Social Care Common Inspection Framework (SCCIF), assessing organisations in their ability to safeguard and educate children whilst allowing them to progress. Inspections also examine elements such as whether children’s needs are being met in their foster homes; looking closely at individual cases.
Ofsted reports are divided into three main sections: ‘overall experiences and progress of children and young people’; ‘how well children and young people are helped and protected’; and ‘the effectiveness of leaders and managers’. In the 2021 report, UK Fostering achieved an ‘outstanding’ grade in all categories.
Ofsted inspectors stated that: “Children are at the heart of this agency’s practice. The leaders and managers inspire a culture of high aspirations and expectations for all their staff and carers to transform and improve the lives of the children.”
The report also stated that “...children joining fostering families [via UK Fostering] are cared for by adults that can meet their needs. Feedback from one child’s social worker stated, ‘I see him in this family for life. I think this placement is life-changing for him.’”
The glowing report follows in the footsteps of another successful inspection carried out at UK Fostering’s North East Office in summer 2021 - which also achieved the highest score in each area of evaluation.
Urs Bielmann, CEO and Registered Manager at UK Fostering, said: “This is a fantastic achievement, foster carers and staff worked extremely hard to accomplish this.
“The rating of ‘Outstanding’ is evidence that we provide high levels of support to children and families. I am very proud of my team of carers and colleagues. We will continue to strive to be the best we can and maintain our focus to improve the lives of children and young people.”
Current statistics show there is a shortage of over 7,000 fostering families nationwide. UK Fostering is working hard to plug that gap, identifying loving and capable families to care for some of the most vulnerable children in society.
The Fostering Network, the UK’s biggest Fostering Charity, said: “With record numbers of children in care and around 13 per cent of the foster carer workforce retiring or leaving every year, The Fostering Network estimates that fostering services across the UK need to recruit at least a further 8,600 foster families in the next 12 months alone. There is a particular need for foster carers to look after teenagers and sibling groups”.
UK Fostering CEO Bielmann said his organisation was always looking for new foster carers to join the team - whether that was for a single child, siblings, parents with their children (known as ‘Parent and Child fostering’), or children with disabilities.
He added: “We believe that children deserve the best possible care with UK Fostering following their difficult early life experiences. If you are thinking about fostering, you can be rest assured that you can be part of something Outstanding with us.”
The ongoing success of UK Fostering has resulted in a fresh recruitment drive for Supervising Social Workers in all four regions (South East, Midlands, North West and the North East).