A foster agency has been deemed ‘outstanding’ following a recent Ofsted inspection.

Inspectors said Child Care Bureau provided highly effective services - and improved the lives of children and young people.  

Nicola Markides-Arrowsmith, registered manager at the foster agency, based in Hallow, said: “The Ofsted inspection has really highlighted the strengths of the agency, team members and our amazing foster carers.

“I could not be prouder of everyone who works for Child Care Bureau and the absolutely incredible homes and outcomes that we provide for young people in our care.

“Our key ethos is holding the child at the heart of everything that we do, I feel that this report shows just how well we are able to achieve this goal.

“I would encourage anyone who is interested in changing children’s lives to get in touch and start their journey into fostering.”

Inspectors visited the agency between November 27 and December 1 2023.

In their report, they said children made 'exceptional progress' - with their health needs met to a high standard. Inspectors found the agency's recruitment of foster parents was 'safe and thorough' and carers were well trained. 

The report said: “The independent fostering agency provides highly effective services that consistently exceed the standards of good. The actions of the independent fostering agency contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people.”

The inspectors pointed out the “unique and bespoke service” of the parent and child placements that the agency offers to ensure children are not separated from their parents during care proceedings.

Inspectors said the records kept about children did not always contain key documents from the child’s placing authority, such as care and education plans, and directed them to provide foster parents with this information in the future. However, they said this had not affected the children's overall care or safety. 

The agency registered with Ofsted in 2004. In June 2018, the agency became part of a privately-owned national organisation, National Fostering Group.

The agency offers a wide range of placement types for children, including emergency, respite, short and long-term, bridging, parent and child, unaccompanied children and young people and young adults ‘staying put’.

At the time of the inspection, 76 children were living in 49 fostering households.

The number of children in foster care in Worcestershire has increased 19% in the last five years and today more than 20 additional foster carers are needed.

Child Care Bureau is appealing to those considering becoming foster carers to step forward and help.

Foster carers are encouraged from all walks of life, and of all ages, as diversity is key in meeting the needs of the many children that come into the care system.

If you’re interested in fostering then call Child Care Bureau’s number on 01905 640022.