Extremely ‘Good’ news for Birmingham Children’s Trust
Birmingham Children's Trust Fostering Service has had some 'Good' news this month.
Another milestone has been reached in the ongoing improvement journey for children’s services in Birmingham, after Ofsted deemed Birmingham Children’s Trust Fostering Service, known as ‘Foster Birmingham’ to be ‘Good’.
The most recent Ofsted inspection, which took place in August 2021, found that services provided by the Independent Fostering Agency ‘Foster Birmingham’ had shown overall improvement from the last time inspectors visited in 2019, when they judged the service as ‘requiring improvements to be good’.
Birmingham Children’s Trust Chief Executive, Andy Couldrick, said: “We are delighted that our hard work and our aspiration to be recognised as delivering high-quality services for children, young people and families, and constantly improving, is getting acknowledged by Ofsted.
“The Trust’s Fostering Agency ‘Foster Birmingham’ has managed to overcome the adversity of a global health pandemic and continues to ensure vulnerable children and young people are placed with loving foster families who remain focused on being caring and supportive whatever is happening.
“Our staff have been incredibly resilient over the past two years to make sure that training and support has continued to be accessed, meaning our fantastic foster carers have been able to provide the physical and emotional support to the children and young people they are caring for.
“Our improvement journey continues, and I want to thank all of our foster carers and all of our staff who support our foster carers, as together they have earned this recognition through hard work and resilience during an unforgettable period that I hope never happens again in our lifetime.”
Councillor Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Vulnerable Children and Families at Birmingham City Council, said: “Fostering is a really important part of the wider range of services we offer, so it is really pleasing to see the progress being made here in Birmingham being recognised in this way.
“It is down to the hard work and commitment of everyone in the team – and it is confirmation of the effort they have been putting in for many years.
“But nobody involved is complacent and we all want to achieve more. We want to keep developing our fostering services and pushing things forward, ensuring that our young people continue to be at the centre of everything we do.”
A total of 728 children are placed with Foster Birmingham. The agency manages 498 approved fostering households (361 are mainstream foster carers, 122 are connected carers, four provide emergency duty services, eight provide ‘Step up’ placements and three offers ‘foster to adopt’ placements).
What Ofsted said in their report about Foster Birmingham:
- Ofsted stated that ‘children are making good progress’ and that ‘foster carers understand children’s physical and mental health needs’, noting that ‘children make good progress in education’ and ‘foster carers help children maintain relationships with family and friends’.
- Regarding safeguarding children Ofsted found ‘foster carers help to keep children safe – by putting boundaries in place / increasing supervision in the home’ by providing ‘proactive response(s) to children who make allegations’, and that ‘foster carers receive appropriate training’.
- The inspectors recognised that Foster Birmingham has a new leadership team and a recently redesigned service that is embedding in, adding that it is ‘with a clear vision on how the service can be further developed’. When asked during the inspection, supervising social workers said ‘they receive regular supervision and feel supported by their managers’.
- Foster carer carers said they receive ‘high levels of support’.
Collaborative working was recognised, and Ofsted noted ‘the service works in partnership with children’s social work teams and significant partners to ensure children have their individual needs met’. Inspectors also found ‘improvement in the timely submission of notification of serious incidents and oversight of these’.