Fostering agency claims Ofsted inspectors ignored their explanations

An Ilford fostering agency has objected to Ofsted’s claim it is “not yet delivering good help and care for children and young people”.

Amber Fostering, based in Olympic House in Clements Road, Ilford, was inspected in June by Ofsted, which decided it “requires improvement”.

Inspectors Sandra Jacobs-Walls and Jayshree Pillay reported that “some children’s needs are not well met” and raised concerns about an incident where blood was found on a child’s pillow.

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

The service, which was set up in April last year and currently has four children placed in three foster homes, has until October 1 to show Ofsted it has improved.

In their report, published last week, the inspectors wrote: “Some children make steady progress from their starting points and their overall experiences are positive. However, this is not the case for all children.

“Weaknesses in the fostering service’s matching process mean that some children’s needs are not well met, and they do not have good experiences. For one child, this resulted in an unplanned ending a few weeks after the start of their placement.

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

While acknowledging children were “protected” and “treated with dignity and respect”, the inspectors argued carers were not always “well prepared to manage the impact” of previous abuse.

They wrote: “Some foster carers fail to establish clear boundaries for children, and their strategies to combat challenging behaviour are not effective.

“Managers, staff and foster carers do not sufficiently probe to explore all potential safeguarding issues.

“For example, in a recent incident, a foster carer and a member of staff accepted a child’s explanation for when blood was found on his pillow.”

Director Imran 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, adding: “Placements do break down where things are not working.

“The Ofsted inspector suggested one placement was not a cultural match [between the carer and child] but we have tried to do matching as much as possible.

“That 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.

“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.”

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter