Praising local foster service

INSPECTORS have praised a council’s fostering service.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s fostering service has been graded good overall after the inspection by Ofsted.

A good grading means the service is of high quality that is exceeding minimum requirements.

Hartlepool Borough Council currently has 94 registered foster carers – up from 92 at the start of April.

There are currently 182 looked-after children within Hartlepool and of those 85.2 per cent are placed in foster care.

Independent councillor Cath Hill, portfolio holder for children’s and community services, praised the service at a recent meeting.

Officers also said the bar had been raised in terms of standards.

A report by Jane Young, head of service specialist service at the council, said: “In April a revised framework for conducting inspection of fostering service was introduced, with Hartlepool being one of the first local authorities in the North-East to be inspected under this new arrangement.

“The authority received two weeks’ notice of the inspection; the previous inspection regime gave six-weeks’ notice.

“There were two inspectors on site for three days with additional inspection time built in prior to the visit.”

Coun Hill said: “This is an excellent report and congratulations must go to all the staff involved.

“It means that we are delivering a good service to our young people and children that need us more than anybody else.”

Coun Hill added that she was “really happy” the foster carers feel supported.

The inspection covered a number of areas including overall effectiveness, outcomes for children and young people, quality of service, safeguarding children and young people, leadership and management.

They were all rated as good except quality of service, which was rated outstanding.

A report added: “Foster carers are of high calibre, positively motivated and demonstrate a total commitment to ensuring that they provide a standard of care that represents the highest quality.

“Foster carers are supported by a team of social workers who clearly reflect high standards in their work.

“A significant feature is the excellent relationship which exists between the foster carer and their social worker.”