Screenshot 2021 11 16 at 21.08.48 - Fostering Connections

Statement of Purpose
Reviewed July 2023
Next review July 2024

Registered Office Address:
Warlies Park House
Horseshoe Hill
Essex EN9 3SL

Tel: 01992 712611 / 07723 073206


Table of Contents


This Statement of Purpose has been developed by Fostering Connections to demonstrate what we want to achieve for children and young people who require high quality foster care.  It shows how we intend to provide and develop services within the Agency and how the Agency meets the requirements of the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 and National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services (2011).  

The statement of purpose is submitted to Ofsted and is available both online on the Agency website as well as in hard copy to all stakeholders in providing or receiving services from the Agency.  Our statement of purpose includes the Agency’s aims and objectives, a description of the services it provides and how outcomes for children and young people will be achieved.  It shows the policy and performance framework that underpins our work and demonstrates how the welfare of children will be met and good outcomes achieved. It also demonstrates the systems which we have set in place to recruit, train, supervise and support foster carers.

All of our work at Fostering Connections has been developed in accordance with the principles outlined in the following legislation and guidance:

  • The Children Act 1989
  • The Care Standards Act 2000
  • The Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000
  • The Children & Young Persons Act 2008
  • The Children & Families Act 2014
  • The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011, amended July 2013 and April 2014
  • The Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards 2011
  • The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 4: Fostering Services 2011
  • The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010
  • The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review and Fostering Services (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013
  • The Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015
  • The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (2010)
  • The Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010
  • The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations Volume 3: Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers (Revised May 2014 and January 2015)
  • The Equality Act 2010
  • The Human Rights Act 1998
  • The Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care 2012
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children – a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (March 2018)
  • Assessment and approval of foster parents: Amendments to the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations. Volume 4: Fostering Services July 2013
  • The Delegation of Authority to Foster Parents: Amendments to the Children Act 1989 (July 2013)
  • Promoting the Education of Looked After Children – Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities 2014 Statutory Guidance on Children who Run Away or go Missing from Home or Care (revised January 2014)
  • Statutory Guidance on promoting the Health and Wellbeing of Looked After Children March 201ter Care and Code of Practice on the Recruitment, Approval, Training, Management and Support of Foster Parents (NFCA – now Fostering Network -1999)


This Statement of Purpose is regularly reviewed and up-dated annually by the Registered Manager and quality assured by the Responsible Individual.  It is then presented to the Board of Directors for their approval.  Children and young people are also provided with an age-appropriate Children’s Guide that is in a more accessible format.

Our Mission

Our mission is simple, we want every placement with our foster carers to be caring, provide stability, accept, and respect children and be a place where they can develop their own identity, confidence and achieve all that they want to be.  We will do this by equipping Foster Carers and staff with the knowledge and skills to enable an excellent quality service to the children and young people placed.

The Agency

Fostering Connections Limited is a private limited company constituted under The Companies Act Company Number 12874518.

Fostering Connections is an independent fostering agency that provides fostering services for looked after children and young people. The directors’ backgrounds in fostering, education, therapy, and business have equipped them with the knowledge and understanding of children, in particular those who are Looked After.  Fostering Connections operates across London and the southwest, southeast, and eastern parts of the Country.

Fostering Connections aims to ensure that our foster carers reflect the diversity of families and individuals in our society.  We recruit foster carers from different backgrounds, cultures, and religions to ensure that choice is available to children and young people as well as local authorities when seeking suitable placements. 

We are a small, friendly Agency and place great emphasis on supporting foster carers so that they can fully undertake their responsibilities to a high standard and ensure children and young people are safeguarded and enabled to reach their potential.

Our Aims and Objectives

Fostering Connections aims to put children and young people at the centre of all we do.  We believe that every child should be able to experience living within a supportive family where they are valued and respected. 

The Agency is committed to providing safe, high quality foster care placements for children and young people that value, support and encourage them to grow and develop as individuals. As well as promoting their health, including mental health and general well-being, the agency is committed to ensuring that foster carers are encouraged to help children and young people to fulfil their maximum academic ability. 

Our commitment to providing high quality foster care is based upon building strong foundations as an Agency.  The core of the organisation is communication, creativity, learning and reflection which allows us to develop effective and creative practice.

We are an organisation that is committed to delivering services that meet the standards of care within the current statutory and regulatory requirements and operate in an open and transparent way with all relevant stakeholders.

We want to continuously improve the way we work by seeking the views of all who provide and use the service through evaluation and feedback.


Our objectives

To develop a fostering service where there is a demonstrable respect for, and recognition of the importance of the individual needs of every child and young person, including their ethnic origin, cultural background, religion, language, ability and additional needs, and sexuality of children and young people and their families and foster carers.

To promote effective working partnerships with other agencies, local authorities and health and social services, birth parents and extended family members, foster carers, and their extended family members, to assist in achieving the best possible outcomes for looked after children.

To ensure that when matching placements, consideration is given to the gender, religion, ethnicity, language, and disability of young people prior to any placement being made with Fostering Connections.

To promote effective partnerships between all key parties in the childcare team and in particular to ensure that all planning and collaborative working is always in the best interests of the child/young person who is fostered.

To strive to provide stability in the lives of children and young people in our care, of priority placement stability to assist in providing and enabling them to fulfil their potential.

To strive to have a commitment to and focus on continuous service improvement, quality assurance and high-quality service provision.

To value diversity by aiming to recruit and retain a wide range of Foster Carers from diverse backgrounds so that Fostering Connections can offer appropriate placements for children and young people.

To promote a child-centred approach where the child or young person’s safety and welfare, emotional and physical well-being are emphasised as the highest priority. 

To respect and promote the racial, religious, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds of foster carers and the children and young people. To provide a sensitive, informed approach and respect for other cultures and diversity in promoting the needs of such individuals within our agency and community.

To ensure that the views of children and young people placed with our foster carers are regularly sought and given due consideration, irrespective of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, or any other potentially discriminatory categories.

To ensure that all foster carers have access to and attend regular, on-going training and support groups and encourage them to comply with national standards. To acknowledge the hard work, skills and knowledge of our foster carers and provide them with a high level of support, training, and encouragement.

To support all foster carers in remaining child focussed and professional whilst working with and alongside birth families.

To provide all foster carers with regular supervision (at least every month), monitoring and support in order that the child/young person’s opportunities are maximised and that the foster carers are consistently meeting the child/young person’s emotional and achievement outcomes. Foster carers are provided guidance and are supported by a fully qualified designated supervising social worker (SSW).

To guarantee a commitment to support ongoing plans for fostered children by supporting transitional stages, such as reunification with birth families or on to semi-independent/independent living or a Staying Put Arrangement. Or alternatively an agreed adult placement. 

To guarantee a commitment to working in partnership with all those involved in planning and providing for each child or young person’s care. This includes local authorities, birth families, the children or young people, foster carers, health professionals, education providers and other relevant professionals, individuals, or organisations

To provide 24-hour support for foster carers and the children or young people in their care, 7 days a week. 

Committed to Equality and Valuing Diversity

Fostering Connections is committed to providing a service which embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. Our goal is to ensure that these commitments, reinforced by our values, are embedded in our day to day working practices with all children and young people, foster carers, colleagues, and any stakeholders. We provide equality of opportunity, tolerance, and objectivity.

As an Agency we want all children and young people to achieve the very best they can through being valued, supported, and respected.


Management and staffing structure

Fostering Connections Limited has a Board of Directors that comprises:

Mr Glen Barker

Miss Corinna Richards

Mr David Whipps

Ms Justina Gay

The organisation at present comprises four Directors 1 Registered Manager, 1 Practice Manager 1 FTE Social Workers 1 Activities Co-ordinator and 1.5Administrator.  In addition to this, access to qualified trained assessing Social Workers will be used, when necessary, in the area of assessment and training of Foster Carers.  The Agency Decision Maker is part of the senior leadership team.

The Management Team comprises the Registered Manager, the Practice Manager and Responsible Individual.  The Registered Manager oversees the day-to-day management and both the Registered Manager and Responsible Individual have the key roles for the strategic development of the organisation.  All members of the senior management team are very experienced in their field.

The Registered Manager is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the agency and the delivery of services to children, young people and their foster carers as well as assessing and promoting positive outcomes for children and regulatory compliance. The Registered Manager takes responsibility for all aspects of service activity and advises and monitors on serious complaints and allegations.  They will ensure the appropriate procedures are followed and safeguards are in place.

The Registered Manager will be supervised by an independent appropriately qualified Senior Social Worker on a monthly basis for a minimum of 1.5 hours and records shall be kept and agreed by both parties. Informal supervision will be provided to the management team (Registered Manager and Directors) during office hours, phone calls and meetings. The Registered Manager will supervise the Practice Manager who in turn supervises the Social Work team.  Supervision of the Admin team is undertaken within the management group.  Supervision records shall be kept and agreed by both parties. Informal supervision will be available during office hours as appropriate. The Registered Manager or Practice Manager will supervise staff working with families or contracted Social Workers on a pro rata basis if needed, however informal support shall be offered during office hours.

There is a commitment to providing training programmes for employees and panel members.  The Agency also has a whistle blowing policy that all staff have access to.

All Social Workers will hold a recognised social work qualification and be Social Work England registered.  Administration staff are qualified/experienced in the use of a range of IT software and data management systems and are appropriately qualified for the tasks, including the use of our database and recording system. One Director has a business, finance background. 

All self-employed individuals are appointed by interview, are referenced and DBS checked. This includes Form F Assessors, Independent Investigators of formal complaints, Central List/Fostering Panel members and supervised contact supervisors. All independent / freelance workers are required to hold appropriate qualifications and have previous experience related to the work they are undertaking. A range of pre-employment checks are carried out on all staff including references and enhanced DBS checks in line with our safer recruitment policy. All directly employed staff are required to undertake an induction period on commencement of employment. Panel Members new to this role will when possible be given a chance to observe one panel prior to sitting themselves.

Services provided by Fostering Connections

All placements made with Fostering Connections are ‘matched’ according to robust criteria which ensure the specific needs of children and young people referred are compatible with the skills and experience of our foster carers. Fostering Connections recognises that the situations surrounding the placement of a child in foster care are often complex. It may be that short-term care is required while a family crisis is resolved; it may be that a therapeutic environment is needed, or a child is to be prepared for adoption. Placements can be long or of a short duration, respite or short break, Parent and child, rehabilitation or a bridging placement.

Fostering Connections will aim to provide access to a pool of foster carers who can meet the range of needs of the children and young people. We seek to offer placements to children from a diversity of ethnic and cultural backgrounds and generally believe children, where possible, are best placed within their own locality. Fostering Connections subscribes to the view that in principle children are best placed with foster carers of the same ethnic origin. However, we also recognise that this may not always be possible, and we believe that this fact alone should not deprive a child/young person of the experience of family life. On occasions the most pressing and specific needs of a child might be best met by foster carers with special skills but who happen to have different ethnic origins to the child/young person.

Black & Minority Ethnic Children and Young People

Fostering Connections will provide good quality services to children and young people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. We aspire to have developed an ethnic mix of Qualified Social Workers and foster carers, from different racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds and who speak different languages as the service grows over time.

Fostering Connections endeavours to place children and young people with families from their own ethnic background. However, we recognise that ethnicity may not be the only significant ‘matching’ criteria. If we are unable to provide foster carers from the same ethnic background, Fostering Connections will seek to provide links in order to meet a child’s religious and cultural needs, in consultation with local authority colleagues, carers and professionals involved.

We aim to offer a range of placements for children and young people of all ages.  This is dependent on the Agency’s growth.  All placements will be matched to ensure a good fit between the needs of children and young people and the skills and experience of foster carers to meet those needs.

At Fostering Connections, we strongly believe that investing in a child’s future will enable them to meet their full potential and achieve the “Five Outcomes” as outlined previously referenced (now superseded by Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018) Therefore, we aim to provide a high standard of services for children, young people, their families, local authorities, and foster Carers.

We will aim to offer permanent, long term and placements of a shorter duration. Parent and Child supportive and/or assessment placements, placements for children/young people with disabilities, Rehabilitation home or to birth relatives, preparation for adoption, respite, and short break placements.  All of these aspirations will be dependent of successful recruitment and retention of new and existing foster carers.

Fostering Connections will offer appropriately experienced and trained foster carers, supported by a professional fostering team working alongside local authorities. We aim to provide placements for a wide range of children and young people aged 0 – 18+ years, including sibling groups, and solo placements.

The types of placements the agency offers are:

Emergency placements

Fostering Connections provides a planned placement service, in line with our ethos that all placements should and will be well matched.  This stated we will provide an emergency service where possible but will work with the local authority to provide as much information on the child’s/young person’s history and risk factors. Foster carers can elect to be part of this service; however, we stress that agreement to being part of the emergency service is based upon risk and well-being factors of all fostering household members.  Some foster carers choose to specialise in short term work and are able to accept unplanned, emergency placements whereby the foster carers’ role would be to provide a place of safety and meet the immediate needs of the child. An emergency placement ideally should not exceed two weeks and it would be anticipated that an initial statutory looked after review would be arranged within one week of admission to placement.

Short term placements

A placement that is made for any purpose, such as assessment, bridging or short break, which is planned but not intended to provide a long-term placement for the child / young person. Periods of short-term care could be for a few days, weeks, or a few months, to enable the local authority to plan for longer term needs.

Long term placements / Permanence

These placements are planned for the longer-term needs, where adoption is not an option, and the foster carers look after a child / young person up to, and where appropriate into adult independence. Most foster carers prefer to have children placed with them on a long-term basis; giving the child permanency and progressing them on to semi/independent living once they have developed the skills necessary and on-going support to live in the community. By providing a long-term placement, it enables children and young people to have a chance to flourish in a stable and supportive environment. Fostering Connections has an on-going commitment to recruit foster carers for this role.

Parent and child placement

This type of placement is for any parent who needs support and guidance in caring for their own child. Support, observation, and assessment work can be carried out on behalf of the local authority. If required, qualified staff can prepare court reports and statements. Fostering Connections provides foster carers who have completed the relevant training and who’s own training record is up to date. They are equipped to provide short- or long-term placements for parent and child, regardless of the age of the parent. These Foster carers will be trained to undertake and/or contribute to parenting assessments. If the parent also happens to be a CLA themselves then we will ensure that two current care plans are provided for both parent and child.

Sibling group placements

Sibling placements are for brothers and sisters who are placed together in a foster care household. Fostering Connections advocates keeping siblings together within a family environment where appropriate and in each child’s best interests.

Fostering Connections is committed to ensuring that where possible sibling groups are placed together. We are able to offer experienced foster carers who can take larger sibling groups to ensure that children do not need to be separated but are also equipped practically and emotionally to address the needs of every child placed. 

Solo placements

Placements where the child has additional and complex needs resulting in the foster carers having to offer a high level of consistent supervision and support which would preclude the placement of another foster child in the same household.

Bridging placements

Fostering Connections has foster carers who will work with children and birth families towards preparing children for adoption, long-term fostering, future placements, or work to plans aimed at supporting them into (semi) independent living.

Placements for children with special needs/additional needs

There are many children with additional needs including disabled children and young people who need a foster family. This can include children with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sensory impairments, or a combination of these. Fostering Connections will aim to provide a range of foster carers who have experience and skills in caring for children and young people who have a disability and / or require specialist medical care.

Respite placements/ Short Break placements

Respite placements are provided to give parents/ foster carers a break or offer additional support. Regular Short Break placements are designed to offer a regular, known, and ongoing placement where required, often used to support birth parents who are caring for a child/young person with a high level of need.

Unaccompanied child / young person

Whilst Fostering Connections is not a Refugee Service, we want to aspire to offer placements to unaccompanied minors, i.e., a child or young person who is under 18 years of age, is separated from parents/family/country of origin and is applying for asylum in his/her own right.

These young people often come from countries where they may have experienced hardship, violence and trauma. They have travelled in unregulated modes of transport and with exposure to risk and harm, they may not speak English and will be frightened and confused. They are separated from their families and despite their obvious resilience are highly vulnerable, both when travelling to the UK and then possibly when resident here, foster carers are needed in most areas in the UK who can provide a safe, understanding, kind, stable and supportive home to these children / young people. 

Rehabilitation to Birth Family/ Extended Family Members

We aim to provide placements where the local authorities are working to return children to their family of origin or extended or connected birth family members. We will have suitably experienced foster carers who will work positively alongside birth family members, preparing the children psychologically and practically for a return home. Often, where needed, working closely with birth family members on bedtime/school time routines and with general parenting skills.

Whilst the aim is on positive working relationships, the foster carers will undertake assessments and will liaise closely with ourselves and the commissioning local authority. This requires an experienced, collaborative approach and the ability to voice concerns appropriately.

Services for Children and Young People

Providing a safe, secure, stable, and successful placement for children and young people is paramount to our shared aim. To support our placements, we ensure the children and young people in our care are fully supported and that their wishes and views are regularly obtained. We provide children and young people with an inclusive support package, which consists of the following:

Children and Young People’s Personal Guide/ Handbooks.

Easy to use review forms that are age appropriate.

Various social activities during the year.

Preparation for independence support.

The opportunity to be part of Children’s Consultation and Participation events conducted during the year

Participate in Fostering Connections’ survey and training.

A service email and phone number which is monitored and is responsive.

We believe that our package of support is crucial to the success of the foster placements. We expect our foster carers to provide a sensitive, professional, and a high standard of service to children and young people who are placed with them and they receive a comprehensive package of support. Children and Young People will be listened to and their views accurately reported, and we will ensure that they are provided with answers to their questions and views to the best of our abilities.

Supervising Social Workers

Each foster family is allocated a supervising Social Worker to visit regularly to provide support and supervision. They monitor standards of care, encourage high standards and help foster carers manage problems if and when they arise.  They will also in discussion with the foster carers assess how progress by the child in placement is going and share said information with the responsible social worker.  They are also available for telephone consultation and liaise with the local authority social worker for the child/young person.

24-hour support/ Out of Hours line

Independent support

All our Foster Carers have access to a 24-hour support phone service that is staffed by our experienced staff members. Senior Managers are always available and can be contacted by the Duty Worker for any support and guidance.

Foster carers are given individual membership of the Fostering Network. This allows them access to advice and support, including legal advice, independent of the Agency. 

The membership includes:

  • Foster Parent 24-hour Legal Advice Helpline
  • Arrest and Interview Assistance
  • Foster Parent Legal Expenses Insurance
  • Foster Parent Accountancy Advice Helpline Foster Parent 24-hour Counselling Helpline
  • Foster Parent Tax Advice
  • Foster Parent Education Advisory Service
  • Foster Parent Social Work Support Line
  • Foster Parent Independent Financial Advice
  • Foster Parent Medical and First Aid Helpline
  • Foster Parent Discounts
  • Foster Parent Online Forum
  • Fostering Network Magazine

Local foster parents support group

Our foster carers will be encouraged to attend a local support group along with their supervising Social Worker. Our aim as an Agency is to grow the opportunities to attend in person groups as we develop the service.  In the meantime, we are trying to offer a blended approach post covid of holding these events on-line along with using other various social media applications to reduce the sense of isolation for carers and ensure they feel part of a bigger team.  We will also be running a regular reflective practice group for all carers online led by an experienced clinical professional to enable carers to discuss issues and share broader understanding and good practice.

As always, support groups will be organised for foster carers with a focus on matters of interest and provide an opportunity for foster carers to share and problem solve together, as well as provide opportunity for continued learning and development.  As an Agency we will also ensure that new foster carers will be ‘buddies’ with more experienced foster carers and as the Agency grows in size, we intend to provide a Peer Mentor service.

WhatsApp and Website

We maintain additional contact with our foster carers through our dedicated WhatsApp group for all of our foster carers.  This WhatsApp group feature developments within foster care, forthcoming training opportunities and information regarding what’s happening within Fostering Connections and the service we offer. Foster carers have the opportunity to contribute material and information to this group.  The Agency also maintains a website that gives information regarding fostering and the Agency to the general public.

2 weeks respite

As part of the support package, foster carers will be entitled to payment for 2 weeks respite, which is paid in two instalments in a year and is calculated on a pro rata basis. Foster carers can request respite breaks and Fostering Connections will work together with foster carers and the local authority to identify a respite placement for a child/young person keeping their best interest in mind. 

We aim for children and young people to benefit from a holiday with their fostering family as a first principle, although we recognise that on occasion planned respite may be helpful in achieving placement stability.

Initial and Ongoing training

All new foster carers are given preparatory (Skills to Foster) prior to starting their form f assessment. Once they are approved The Agency sets out a range of training that is set out as mandatory and in the case of new foster carers the Agency will expect them to complete the TSD standards within their first 12 months post approval.  Foster carers will be expected to complete all mandatory training requirements and then will be supported in a range of additional courses and learning opportunities.

Fostering allowance /fees

Fostering Connections operates to the Framework Contract for Independent Fostering agencies. This ensures fees are transparent and inclusive. 

Any additional services required in order to meet a child or young person’s particular needs and circumstances over and above those outlined in a contract, are negotiated, and agreed with the responsible local authority at the point of placement or at subsequent reviews. This could include, for example, additional educational support, specialised equipment for a child with disabilities and other exceptional or major expenses as well as on-going therapeutic input from one of the professionals working within or commissioned by the agency.

The fee structure is reassessed annually and takes effect from 1st April. The financial remuneration offered to the agency foster carers reflects the demands of the task and quality of service foster carers are expected to offer. Out of their allowance, foster carers are expected to meet the routine day to day cost of looking after a child.

Further details are available on request and are included within the Foster Parent Agreement.

Foster carers Insurance is provided by an insurance company. Premiums are paid by the agency although foster carers are required to have their own household building / contents insurance and are advised that they should make their insurance holders aware that they are fostering to ensure they are appropriately covered. Likewise, their motor/vehicle insurance provider. All foster carers and staff are required to provide details of up-to-date MOT/Insurance and penalty points history.

Matching Process

All placements are ‘matched’ to ensure that the needs of the children and young people are met by the skills and experience of foster carers.  Many of our foster carers will have a wealth of experience. Fostering Connections registered manager is the first point of contact for enquiries about placement choices and who will liaise closely with the supervising social workers, foster carers, and local authorities to ensure the best possible match for the child/young person and foster carers.  As the Agency develops and grows a dedicated placement officer role will be developed.

At Fostering Connections, we recognise the importance of carefully matching placement referrals for children and young people with our foster families. This helps to provide the basis for a positive relationship and placement stability. We work closely with and in partnership with the referring local authority to ensure that the proposed placement supports the following:

  • A safe, stable placement that reflects the foster parent’s ability to meet the care plan.
  • Reflects the expressed wishes of the children
  • Takes into account, where possible, the wishes of the child’s family
  • Will be able to meet the child’s physical, educational, emotional, health, cultural, religious, and social needs
  • Will be able to meet the needs for contact
  • Will not disrupt any foster child already in placement; Co-placement matching will be equally robust.
  • Will not pose a risk to any child in the foster parent’s household, birth or foster child, or extended family members, i.e., grandchildren.
  • Will bring no substantial risk to any member of the foster carer’s household pets or their property.  Fostering Connections will as it develops aim to provide a placement service out of hours which means that children and young people can be placed with foster carers during the night where foster carers agree and risk assessed to do so. 

Recruitment and assessment

Fostering Connections are committed to recruiting foster carers who can provide high quality foster care. Anyone over the age of 21 years may apply to become a foster carer.  Applications are welcomed from all people, regardless of gender, sexuality, marital status, employment situation, disability, culture, and religion. The process of selection is rigorous and designed to ensure commitment and compatibility to the fostering task. People in relationships will however be asked to wait until they have been together for a time of 24 months.

Recruitment process Referral/ Enquiry

Fostering Connections advertise regularly for foster carers in many regions. We aim to recruit foster carers to meet the needs identified in each area.  We also expect to receive applications from people who have heard of our comprehensive support package by word of mouth. We capitalise on the publicity generated by events and any relevant media programmes which may have a positive impact on our recruitment.

Following an enquiry from a prospective foster carer the Agency will take necessary information from the applicant to complete the referral form and will post / email the information pack to the applicants.

There is immediate exclusion of any applicant who has been convicted of an offence against a child or any serious offence against an adult.

All prospective foster carers must have at least one spare bedroom.

All members of the public who contact the agency about becoming foster carers will need to provide the agency with brief information about their current circumstances. The agency will be available to give general information and will also try to answer any initial queries. 

To continue with application, enquiries will be told that: 

They must have sufficient room to care for a looked after child. This includes bedrooms for any birth child living with the other parent.  Applicants must be over 21 years of age.

They must be prepared to undertake an Enhanced DBS, health, and local authority checks, and provide names of suitable referees, including a referee from any current or any previous employment related to children and consent to ex partners where there was a substantive relationship being contacted. The only question asked of a previous partner is if they know of any reason why the applicant should not be approved as a foster carer.

They must be prepared to undertake a comprehensive BAAF Form F assessment, attend preparatory training, and commit to attend training and support groups following approval.


Will be required to facilitate contact between the looked after child and his or her family members.

Application and Initial Visit

When there is an enquiry to foster then their details are logged on our database and the agency will establish the applicant’s motivation to foster, the bedroom/s available, work commitments, preferred approval range, childcare experience and inform the enquirer of expectations of foster carers by local authorities and Fostering Connections.

If both parties agree then an Initial Visit is arranged, for which, if it is a two-parent household both applicants have to be present. This will determine whether the enquirers meet the eligibility criteria, the Agency’s expectations in relation to foster families, explore their motivation to foster, and answer any questions concerning their interest in fostering and address any specific issues.


At the Initial Visit further details are established about the applicants’ motivation to foster. They are asked in detail about any convictions and possible restrictions to foster.

Applicants are informed of the need for health checks, local authority checks and DBS checks.


The Registered Manager will decide whether the applicant is suitable to progress to the Form F assessment stage.


Prospective foster carers who meet the eligibility criteria and are considered to be suitable are invited to submit an application for assessment. Until this application form is returned the agency cannot proceed to allocate their assessment. Applicants are advised to return application forms as quickly as possible and offered help with completion. DBS and references are proceeded with and a medical requested.


Anyone who is not selected to proceed at this stage will be informed and given the reasons for the decision

For those who are accepted to proceed with application, the following is planned.

Planning the assessment

Applicants attend the Skills to Foster course during the assessment phase.

Statutory checks are initiated.

The Assessment Process

All assessments are carried out by qualified and experienced Social Workers using the Coram/BAAF Form F template and process. The assessment process is to determine the applicant’s capacity to meet the needs of any children and young people likely to be placed with them.

Their ability to work professionally and collaboratively with other professionals is also assessed

The first assessment meeting is to determine the planning and timetabling of the assessment. The assessment is carried out in line with National Minimum Fostering Standards 2011 and Fostering Services Regulations 2011.

The assessor ensures further that the applicants are aware of the dates for the Skills to Foster Training course. The assessor will explain the basic process of gathering information and evidence during the assessment as well as ensuring that applicants are aware of the process of obtaining checks from the DBS, local authority, and the GP. National Minimum Standards 2011 and Fostering Services Regulations 2011 require the fostering service to undertake statutory checks as part of the assessment process. These are: –

  • A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on all people who reside in the household who are over 18 and any persons staying overnight or supporting on a regular basis.
  • Local authority and other agency checks as required. Including previous local authorities where the applicants have lived for the previous five years Fostering Connections will undertake local authority checks for the past 10 years.
  • Child health and education checks will be carried out on any school-age children in the household.
  • Current/ most recent employer references are needed for each applicant. Additional references from any previous employer where there was contact with children will be obtained.
  • A medical examination undertaken by the applicant’s own GP.
  • A minimum of three personal referees (one of whom should be a family member) who will provide written references and be interviewed as part of the assessment process.

Interviews will be carried out with birth children and any other adults in the household.

Where possible interviews will be carried out with previous partners.

Gathering evidence or information

Fostering Connections’ assessing social worker will undertake the assessment in the following settings:

The applicant’s own home.
During the ‘Skills to Foster’ preparation course.
In other relevant settings e.g., workplace, if appropriate
Virtually as within guidelines.

A variety of techniques will be used to gather evidence or information regarding the applicants’ suitability to foster. 

These may include:

  • Eco-maps
  • Family trees and chronologies to gain information on applicant’s motivation to foster and will discuss how their past history may impact on fostering.
  • Statements from other adults who can corroborate the applicants’ ability to relate to and care for children e.g. babysitting, helping out at school etc.
  • Discussion and opinions on childcare.
  • Records and reports
  • Case studies
  • Role playing and simulation
  • Skills to Foster preparation course
  • Homework assignments

The assessment will include a recommendation by the Fostering Connections assessing Social Worker.

As mentioned above, during the assessment, administration will undertake a variety of statutory checks which include:

  • Enhanced DBS Check
  • Local authority checks
  • Employer and / or current fostering organisation references
  • School / health visitor reports (on own child, if appropriate)
  • Medical reports
  • Current employment references
  • References from all previous employment involving children and vulnerable adults
  • Three personal references of which at least two will be interviewed by a social worker
  • Overseas check (where appropriate)
  • A health and safety report to be completed
  • Where possible ex-partners and children of an appropriate age from previous relationships


Fostering Connections aims to complete the assessments within 24 weeks from allocation of the case unless there are extenuating circumstances. The National Minimum Standards 2011 state that an application/assessment should be considered by the Fostering Panel within eight months from application.

All prospective foster carer reports (BAAF Form F reports) are overseen by the registered manager to ensure we maintain a high standard of assessment, and safe care practice. Once completed a Fostering Panel date is identified and allocated.


The Fostering Panel comprises a variety of professionals and independent members, including foster carers, and people with experience of the looked after children system.

All assessments are considered by a properly constituted Fostering Panel, which makes recommendations to the agency which includes ratification by the Agency Decision Maker regarding the suitability of the applicant to be a foster parent. This may include any additional terms that the Panel considers should apply to a foster parent’s approval status. The Agency Decision Maker takes full account of the Panel’s recommendations when reaching their decision. Prospective Foster Parents are expected to attend the Panel.

All successful applicants are provided with a Foster Parent Agreement, which confirms their appointment as an agency foster parent. It also gives details about the terms of approval and how this will be reviewed, as well as the role of the local authority making the placement.

Panel may be held in person or as a virtual meeting such as Teams/Zoom.

After the Panel meeting applicants are told what happens next and a Fostering Connections staff member helps to answer any questions that applicants have.

Post Approval Induction

After the Agency Decision Maker has agreed their approval as foster carers, newly approved foster carers are informed about the decision verbally and they receive a letter of confirmation within two working weeks of the Panel sitting.

Upon approval Fostering Connections assigns a supervising Social Worker to support the foster parent in the fostering task. Supervising Social worker completes post approval visit and goes through an induction. This induction process involves.

  • Email or giving the Foster Parent the Foster carers Handbook
  • Discussion around the child referral and matching process in respect of timescales and processes.
  • Discussion around future training courses and the answering of any immediate questions asked by the foster carers about the fostering task. 

Review of Approval

The Agency undertakes competency based first reviews based on Regulations, Standards & Statutory Guidance. In accordance with the Fostering Service Regulations 2011, all foster carers and their approval status is reviewed annually. 

The annual review determines whether approval of the foster carers should be renewed and / or whether there should be any changes made. The review includes written feedback reports from the parent’s supervising social worker, the local authority social worker, children and young people in placement, children of the household, and the foster carers themselves.

  • Management and support of Foster Carers 
  • The foster parent’s role is a professional one of caring for a child/young person’s personal and developmental needs.

The main tasks for a foster parent in Fostering Connections are as follows:

To provide an environment that is stable, safe and supportive for a child or young person in their care.

  • To be supportive of contact to enable the child or young person to stay in touch with family members or people who are important to them, as guided by the care plan.
  • To promote the child’s health, emotional, social, and educational development.
  • To be sensitive to and promote the child or young person’s cultural identity, confidence, and self-esteem.
  • To be an advocate for children and young people empowering them to make decisions.
  • To provide safe boundaries in which children and young people can be responsible and learn to have positive and consistent behaviour.
  • Work as part of a team at Fostering Connections and make available times to attend meetings on behalf of the children and young people.
  • Helping children and young people transition in a sensitive, professional and positive way.
  • Taking responsibility to maintain a level of professionalism by attending regular training and support meetings to further develop knowledge and skills.
  • Being responsible in handling confidential information.

It is primarily the supervising Social Worker’s responsibility to manage and support the parent in the fostering task. Fostering Connections’ Supervising Social Workers understand that they have a responsibility for ensuring that the child in placement’s needs are paramount, even though they do not have case management responsibility for the child. 


The supervising social worker will visit the foster parent regularly both whilst a child is in placement, and when the parent has vacancies. All foster carers are enrolled as members of Foster Talk (financed by Fostering Connections) which provides excellent up-to-date information, advice and support, and legal insurance, should Foster Carers be the subject of an allegation.


We regard our foster carers as the foundation of our service. We know from research that poor general support to foster carers has been found to be closely associated with them ceasing to foster or finding children’s behaviours more stressful. Therefore, we offer our foster carers a robust package of professional support and financial remuneration. All foster carers and looked after children / young people receive an exceptionally high level of support from Fostering Connections management and staff. 

Foster carers receive regular visits from their Supervising Social Worker, who works to ensure that the welfare of the child and / or young person is being safeguarded and promoted, and to identify support or services needed to enhance the child/young person’s physical, mental, and emotional welfare.

Our foster carers make a real difference. At Fostering Connections, we believe that the agency assists, advises and supports foster carers; building on the ethos that ‘it takes a village’ recognising that these are the most vulnerable children in society and we all have a part to play in assisting to achieve good, positive outcomes. 

We aim to celebrate the achievements of all, including those of our foster carers and ensure that they are given professional service from all aspects of the agency. 

This is in order to ensure that they can carry out the day-to-day role of being professional foster carers whilst providing a quality placement to the young people placed with them. 

Together we work as a team; the aim is to ensure we can help children and young people have the best outcomes possible during their time with their foster carers and the agency, and then carry forward positive achievements in their lives.

Allocated Supervising Social Worker

All foster carers have an identified supervising social worker (SSW). The SSW visits foster carers regularly to monitor the standards of care provided and assist the foster parent to play their part in the child’s care plan and identify any training needs. They listen and debate possible solutions and desired outcomes. Our philosophy is firmly to remain an objective, open and supportive supervision service, not afraid to discuss alternative views but clearly to always ensure that safe, kind and emotionally mature responses are evidenced. 

However, the whole team will always endeavour to support and assist where possible and as appropriately, with the aim that foster carers feel listened and responded to.

Fostering Connections recognises and places as a priority that supervision and support for foster carers is   a core requirement. It is important that the foster carers work is recognised as providing the major and fundamental re-parenting role in meeting the needs of looked after children. Foster Parent satisfaction and retention is essential for a healthy and safe Fostering Service.

SSWs are responsible for ensuring that the care offered to children in foster care meets the required standards. SSWs will visit and communicate with the foster parent regularly.  Visits to the foster carers take place at a minimum of monthly intervals. These can be increased as assessed need determines. As part of the monitoring of the work of foster carers, there will be at least one unannounced visit by the SSW to the foster parent’s home per year.

Foster Parent reviews

Approved foster carers will have their first review within 12 months, chaired by a Senior Practitioner or the Registered Manager.  The first review following approval is always presented to the Fostering Panel. Subsequent annual reviews may also be presented to the Fostering Panel in situations where termination of approval is sought, when significant changes in the terms of approval are being considered, or where there are serious concerns about suitability of the parent or following the investigation of any concerns about standards of care, complaints, or allegations against the foster parent. Ongoing reviews will be returned to panel every 5 years.

The main aim of the Annual Review is to determine whether the foster carers continue to be suitable to foster and whether there should be any changes in the terms of the approval.

The Annual Review is an opportunity to look at the progress the foster parent has made and to set targets and goals for the next year within the annual development plan. Training needs are also assessed and a recommendation for future approval is made by the SSW and the Senior Practitioner.

Fostering Connections will ensure that:


  • All Fostering Connection’s Foster Carers will have an allocated SSW who fulfils the function of a Line Manager and provides support. The SSW’s visits are treated as a supervision session with an agenda and record of the meeting.
  • The foster parent’s training, support and development needs are regularly reviewed, and their progress appraised at the foster parent’s annual review.
  • Foster carers have access to key personnel within Fostering Connections, including experienced foster carers, administrators, social workers and managers.
  • Foster carers are able to understand the relevance of the National Minimum Standards, in particular those which are child centred, to their own professional development through meetings with SSWs.
  • Fostering Connections seeks the views of specific groups of foster carers (e.g. black and minority ethnic foster carers or male foster carers) on their support needs which may be met in a variety of ways through specific training, support groups, email groups or mentoring.
  • Foster carers are also offered support through a counselling service or an independent supporter for foster carers if they are dealing with a particularly stressful situation (e.g. when an allegation has been made). This is likely to be provided via their Fostering Network membership.
  • Foster carers are expected, enabled and encouraged to attend training sessions and support groups.


Support is made available to partners and sons and daughters of foster carers through individual support by the Supervising Social Worker or support groups in recognition of the involvement of all members of the family in the fostering task.

Fostering panel

Fostering Connections Fostering Panel makes recommendations regarding the recruitment, approval, annual review, re-approval and / or termination of approval of foster carers. Membership of the Panel In accordance with the Fostering Service Regulations 2011, Fostering Connections’ Fostering Panel members are people from the Agency’s central list. The central list includes members of various backgrounds and professions who have knowledge and experience relevant to their considering cases and making recommendations. Fostering Connections has also appointed a member of the central list as Fostering Panel Vice-Chair who chairs Panel meetings if the Panel Chair is not in attendance or the post of Chair is vacant.

Training and development

At Fostering Connections, we recognise that the only way to achieve excellence is by investing in foster carers. We therefore seek to promote a competent and motivated team of foster carers through continuous development in order to enable the delivery of high-quality services to the children and young people in our care, their families, and other agencies who we are involved with.

The training programme developed by Fostering Connections is compliant with the National Minimum Standards ensuring that all foster carers receive relevant induction and continued professional development. Foster carers are expected to meet the Training, Support & Development (TSD) Standards and complete the workbook within appropriate one year of approval.

Aims of the training programme

  • To equip foster carers with the knowledge and skills needed to provide high quality care for the children and young people they look after.
  • To ensure that all foster carers are given the necessary information and help to develop knowledge and skills to carry out their role and have appropriate opportunities for career development.
  • Foster families are enabled and empowered to support and guide children and young people to achieve positive outcomes and reach their full potential.
  • Be alert to any warning signs in relation to safe caring or placement disruption are identified early to safeguard the best interests of all parties.
  • To provide foster carers with the skills to work with birth carers and children in the context of a multi-racial society.

The Training Framework

The Fostering Service Regulations 2011 (17 (1)) states that the fostering service provider must provide foster carers with such training, advice, information, and support, including support outside office hours, as appears necessary in the interests of children placed with them.  Standard 20, ‘Learning and Development of Foster carers’: National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services 2011 state that ‘Foster carers receive the training and development they need to carry out their role effectively’.

A clear framework of training and development is in place and this is used as the basis for assessing foster carers’ performance and identifying their training and development needs.

Fostering Connections has a training policy and strategy.  All foster carers are given the necessary help to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that they require to carry out their role effectively and to provide foster carers with the appropriate opportunities for career development.

Fostering Connections provides a two-stage training programme to all of its foster carers that comprises:

Pre-approval Training – Skills to Foster

Prior to approval by the Agency all prospective foster carers are required to attend a ‘Skills to Foster’ course which is presented by a qualified trainer or by Fostering Connections qualified social work staff. In the case of couples, both must attend this training and undergo assessment and checks. The Agency recognises and values the contribution of existing foster carers to the recruitment process and actively supports their involvement in recruitment activity. The course runs over 2-3 days and is an integral element of the assessment process. Where appropriate a separate session is available for the birth/resident children of the family.

The course comprises 6 sessions covering the following: 

Session 1: What is the role of a foster carer

Session 2: Identity & Life Chances of the Children and Young People 

Session 3: Working professionally and collaboratively with Others

Session 4: Understanding Behaviours & providing adequate and good care for Children.

Session 5: Safer Caring for both children placed and the foster carer

Session 6: Transitions, endings and moving on.

The course will introduce individuals to the challenges and rewards of foster care, the kinds of experiences children may have gone through and why they may behave in certain ways. The course will provide individuals with information about professionals they will be working with and set out expectations of being a foster carer.

Post-approval - Mandatory Training Programme

Our training programme provides foster carers with the opportunity to understand issues essential to their role, and to identify their future learning and development needs. Fostering Connections has a dedicated training budget. It is essential for all Fostering Connections foster carers to achieve the minimum level of knowledge and skills encapsulated in the Standards.

Opportunities for training and support will therefore be provided at four levels:

Support, discussion, and evaluation at the foster parent’s home.

Participation in foster care groups e.g., support groups, social events.

Participation in formal training events with other foster carers and social workers.

Completion of TSD standards within 12 months of approval as foster carers


Training Support and Development (TSD) Standards


Standard 1: Understand the principles and values essential for fostering children and young people Standard 2: Understand your role as a foster parent

Standard 3: Understand health and safety, and healthcare 

Standard 4: Know how to communicate effectively

Standard 5: Understand the development of children and young people 

Standard 6: Keep children and young people safe from harm 

Standard 7: Develop yourself

There is a strong commitment to ensure that foster carers have access to the right support and development opportunities. Training and development are an intrinsic part of fostering. Fostering Connections has a clear expectation that all foster carers will participate in core training as outlined and additional training and development offered by the agency as fully as possible. There will also be the opportunity for Foster Carers to undertake online learning. There is an expectation that foster carers will complete the TSDS portfolio and this expectation will be endorsed by the Fostering Panel on approval. The completion of this will be reported to the Panel alongside the first Annual Review.


These opportunities will greatly assist and enable foster carers to meet the complex needs of the children and young people for whom they care, and to develop skills and knowledge to keep the foster family and the fostered children safe and protected.

A typical training programme includes the following courses:


  • Behaviour Management 
  • First Aid – Mandatory
  • Safe Care and Health & Safety – Mandatory
  • GDPR Logging & Recording – Mandatory
  • Safeguarding/ Child Protection – Mandatory
  • Drug and substance misuse, including County Lines Awareness
  • Secure base model for carers – Mandatory
  • Working Towards Independence
  • Stress Management
  • Creating a Therapeutic environment – Mandatory
  • Prevent – Mandatory
  • Equality and Diversity – Mandatory

The Agency will regularly ask foster carers through skills audits what additional training is required based upon relevance and need.


It is also important that foster carers can document and evidence their skills and knowledge throughout their fostering career. 


Learning and development within Fostering Connections is comprised of three tiers: –


Pre-approval training

Induction – New parent and core training

Ongoing personal development training


Each foster carer has a Personal Development Plan, as required within Section 7 of the Training, Support and Development standards, drawn up in conjunction between the SSW and the foster carer.

The Personal Development Plan is reviewed annually at the foster carer review by the Registered Manager, Foster Parent Reviews, the foster carer, and the SSW.


Policies and procedures

Fostering Connections has comprehensive foster parent policies, procedures, and practice manuals in accordance with regulations. 

Our manuals (The Foster Parent’s Handbook and our Social Workers’ Policy Information) contain information on law, child protection, behaviour management, health and safety matters, care planning, training, financial matters, meeting the needs of children and young people, education, complaints and grievances, and record keeping.

Our manuals are updated annually (or more often as required).



At Fostering Connections, we strive to provide the highest standard of service to children, birth parents, foster carers, and Local Authorities.

We encourage feedback from everyone who receives services from us. Our aim is to be open to opinions and views, including those which may be critical of our actions or processes. We have a Whistle Blowing policy and firmly believe that all are able to voice a view and comment on poor practice, whether perceived or actual.

Possibly individuals may feel that we have done something incorrectly or perhaps feel there has been an omission in our practice. Individuals may want to make a comment about a particular issue or pay us a compliment about something we have done really well. We will strive to actively listen and correct any issues, at the very least to give explanation about why processes are as they are.

Who can make a complaint?

  • Any child who is being looked after by Fostering Connections or a person acting on their behalf.
  • A parent of his or hers or person with parental responsibility.
  • Any Fostering Connections foster carer or family member.
  • Any Fostering Connections staff member.
  • Any person which Fostering Connections considers has sufficient interest in a child’s welfare to warrant his or her representations being considered by them.

How to make a complaint

Our Complaints Policy sets out the procedure for making a complaint and is readily available for all to see.


Contact details of Ofsted

Piccadilly Gate 4 Store Street Manchester

M1 2WD

Email: [email protected] 

Tel. 03001231231

Fostering Connections Ltd

Responsible Individual Glen Baker

Registered Manager Brian Hughes

Designated Safeguarding Officer Brian Hughes

Designated Complaints Officer Corinna Richards

Agency Decision Maker Wendy Spears

Out of hours number 07723073206

Main Regional Office Warlies Park House

Horseshoe Hill