Ofsted inspectors have praised the thorough response to the Covid-19 pandemic by Slough Children’s Services Trust’s Independent Fostering Agency, in an assurance visit conducted during November 2020.
In a letter published today by Ofsted, it was noted that staff at the IFA worked hard to provide support to the children in their care and their foster carers, particularly during periods of restriction and self-isolation. This included having respite arrangements in place should foster carers become too unwell to care for the children. Staff at the IFA also remained in regular contact with foster carers to provide up-to-date advice and guidance which foster carers told Ofsted they found very supportive.
The inspectors found that the Registered Manager at the IFA, Saima Arif, gave thoughtful consideration to where children should live and included foster carers in decisions. This meant that children were cared for by foster carers with the right skills and experience to meet their needs. Even in emergency circumstances, placements were well planned with all relevant information available from the start.
Illustrating an area of improvement from the previous visit, the inspectors observed that the Trust had created a stable management team that fully supported the work of the supervising social workers. They also found that the Registered Manager had implemented a series of mechanisms to monitor the quality of care provided, mechanisms that were enhanced in response to the pandemic to ensure the standard of care was maintained.
Foster carers came in for praise from the inspectors for their understanding of the impact of the pandemic on children, particularly in relation to the disruption of their normal routines. The feedback received from children provided reassuring evidence that they had good relationships with their foster carers and liked being part of their family.
“We are pleased this visit recognised all that we have achieved at the IFA to provide the best possible support to the children in our care and the foster carers who look after them” said Saima Arif, Registered Manager at the IFA.
“We are also pleased the report acknowledged the great work of our foster carers who have done an incredible job supporting the children and keeping them safe,” added Saima. “They are all too often the unsung heroes in our society but we are so very proud of them.”