Fostering and adoption arms of children’s services ‘good’

Paul Moffat corporate director of children's service
Paul Moffat corporate director of children's service

Ofsted inspectors have rated Doncaster Children’s Services Trust’s fostering and adoption operations as ‘good.’

Inspectors said that the Trust’s fostering operation was ‘well managed and monitored by highly motivated, child-centred and passionate leaders and managers.’

Foster carers are carefully selected and well supported, children feel safe and generally make good progress at school, and the Trust responds to children’s views about their care, says the fostering service report.

The report also calls for areas to be improved following the inspection, although they are not judged to be safety risks.

The report warns the telephone verification of written references are not consistently recorded. The records following supervisory visits to foster carer’s homes do not consistently provide a clear appraisal of the visit.

A recommendation is made for the agency to conduct visits to foster homes in accordance with foster care agreements. It says the shortfalls have not impacted on children and young people’s safety and welfare.

In a parallel report on the adoption service inspectors found staff to be ‘united in their focus of wanting the best outcomes for children and young people.’

They were also impressed by the quality of post-adoption support and the introduction of ‘fostering to adopt placements,’ which means babies are often able to stay with their initial carers.

Children’s services were taken out of council control after concerns were raised following child deaths and are now run by the trust.

Trust chief executive Paul Moffat said: “We’re very proud of our teams who have worked so hard to achieve these improvements for Doncaster children and these reports are very encouraging in showing we’re on the right track. And a big thank you is due to the wonderful foster carers we work with. But it’s no time to rest on our laurels; there is much more to be done as we continue on our improvement journey.

“We have set new practice standards for all our social workers and we are working with local partners to build new and better ways to help local children stay safe and well.”

The latest inspection news comes as Doncaster Children’s Services Trust approaches its first anniversary as the first children’s social care organisation in the country to be run independently from a local authority.

It was set up last year following an agreement with the government and Doncaster Council and its remit is to pioneer new, dynamic ways to provide outstanding care to local children and families.

Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for children, Nuala Fennelly said: “The council and trust work closely together to keep Doncaster’s children and young people safe.

“I am delighted that Ofsted has confirmed our own view of the high quality of the fostering and adoption services.”