Foster agency criticises Ofsted inspectors after 'requires improvement' rating

Redbridge Council are 'urgently' looking for new foster carers. Photo: PA/DominicLipinski

Amber Fostering was told it has until October 1 to show Ofsted it has improved.  - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A fostering agency in Ilford has hit out at a report made by Ofsted inspectors. 

An inspection of Amber Fostering in June raised concerns over how well children’s needs were being met, including an incident in which blood was found on a child’s pillow. 

The agency, based in Olympic House, Clements Road, was given a “requires improvement" grade and told it has until October 1 to show Ofsted it has improved. 

However, speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, director Imran Ilyasi said the service’s explanations were “ignored”, including that the blood was reportedly from a nosebleed. 

The service was set up in April last year and currently has four children placed in three foster homes. 

In their report, published last week, inspectors Sandra Jacobs-Walls and Jayshree Pillay wrote that while some children have positive experiences with the service, weaknesses in their matching process mean that “some children’s needs are not well met”. 

For one child, they said, this resulted in an unplanned ending a few weeks after the start of their placement. 

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“Gaps in meeting children’s cultural and behavioural needs are not always well explored, which contributes to placement disruption,” they said. 

Inspectors argued that carers were not always “well prepared to manage the impact” of previous abuse, that they failed to establish clear boundaries for children and used ineffective strategies to combat challenging behaviour. 

They added staff failed to fully explore all potential safeguarding issues, including a recent incident, in which a foster carer and a member of staff accepted a child’s explanation for when blood was found on his pillow. 

Mr Ilyasi explained that, in this particular instance, the young person said they had a nosebleed, an issue they were known to experience regularly.  

He also said that the placement where there was an “unplanned ending” was because the foster carer in question feared for her safety. 

He said that in one placement, which the Ofsted inspector said was not a cultural match, the foster carer has gone an extra mile to meet the cultural needs of the child.  

“That was what we explained but it was all completely ignored,” he said. 

“Every point raised, we gave [the inspectors] an explanation and it was just kind of ignored… [but] we have decided to take the report the way it is and go for an improvement.” 

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “We have rigorous quality assurance processes in place to ensure all providers have the opportunity to raise concerns before an inspection report is published.

"We stand by our report and will continue to monitor the provision to make sure they make the necessary improvements.”

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