The recent Ofsted framework rollout and the pilot inspection which we were involved in December 2016, has highlighted how it important it is to us that our children’s views are heard and understood.
While a collaborative approach to everything we do has always been our standard way of doing things, we are always looking for ways to improve and enhance the lives of the young people that we work alongside.
One of the strategies we have in place, much like the new Ofsted framework, is carrying out a lot of unannounced visits. These are vital from a safeguarding standpoint as they ensure children are being kept safe. Turning up unannounced and speaking to children allows for unprepared and unprompted conversations; encouraging a natural response to what is going on and how happy they are. By putting both Carer and child on the spot, it is an excellent chance to make sure the home environment is the right one and provides the child the opportunity to have their say.
Additionally, we run monthly support groups with Carers. They write down achievements that month. One thing we have noticed with the recent framework changes is that, in the past when it came to a review, the focus on small moments was lost and only significant milestones were included. Seemingly insignificant, smaller experiences such as an individual learning to tie their own shoelaces, to us are tremendous achievements and they are the measurable building blocks to a child’s progression. We make a point of highlighting and celebrating these in our support group sessions.
In addition to the home visits, we have yearly appraisals incorporating written reports by everyone that works with the young person, including the individual. We include feedback on positive experiences within the foster placement from the Local Authority, the relevant school and staff within Progress.
We are consistently working hard to come up with creative, out-of-the-box ideas to better develop the work we are currently doing. As a result of this collaborative brainstorming, our ‘voice of the child’ themed big family fun day was born. We host family events and invite foster carers, young people and all of our team. During the day, there is food, entertainment and informal chats with the children. The feedback from the event tells us what is like from first person perspective to be looked after in our care; finding out what we are doing well and what needs improvement, what the individual likes, what don’t they like and how they believe we can improve. We wanted to give the opportunity for children to have their voice – directly and our family fun days provide that opportunity.
For more information about our fostering service, please get in touch today.
You can call 01902 5601066, email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop you details below.