Anglia Fostering Agency

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Anglia Fostering Agency's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Anglia Fostering Agency is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.afafostering.com

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | ANGLIA FOSTERING AGENCY
Anglia Fostering Agency,
Norwich and East Midlands
Left to right: Director Nigel Pickering,
Registered Manager Toni Adriano
and Director Graeme Duncombe
Anglia Fostering Agency was founded in 2009 and
commenced operations in March 2010. It was started by
social workers Nigel Pickering and Graeme Duncombe,
each of whom has over 40 years’ experience in children’s social
work. They tell
The Parliamentary Review
that their backgrounds
in managing fostering services across the public and private
sectors alike equipped them well to open AFA Fostering. In this
article, they expand on the company’s background and discuss
the stability, financial situation and political perception of the
foster care sector.
AFA Fostering was founded with the intention of providing high-quality support
to foster carers 24 hours a day, in order to enable them to provide the best
care possible to the children placed with them. Our directors have experienced
the impact of independent fostering agencies being bought and sold by private
equity companies in previous employment, where the focus of delivering the best
childcare was often diluted in the pursuit of profit.
Our mission statement of delivering “quality care with integrity and respect”
underpins all our operations and is as integral and relevant to the ethos of the
organisation today as it was ten years ago.
Over the past decade, we have responded to and developed new services to reflect
societal needs, impacted by pressures caused by a policy of austerity and cutbacks
to local authority budgets. Initially delivering what could be seen as “mainstream”
fostering services to local authorities in East Anglia, primarily Norfolk and Suffolk,
FACTS ABOUT
ANGLIA FOSTERING AGENCY
»Directors: Nigel Pickering and
Graeme Duncombe
»Founded in 2009, began
trading in 2010
»Located in Norwich
»Services: Children’s foster care
provision
»No. of employees: 24
Anglia Fostering
Agency
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | ANGLIA FOSTERING AGENCY
Anglia Fostering Agency,
Norwich and East Midlands
Left to right: Director Nigel Pickering,
Registered Manager Toni Adriano
and Director Graeme Duncombe
Anglia Fostering Agency was founded in 2009 and
commenced operations in March 2010. It was started by
social workers Nigel Pickering and Graeme Duncombe,
each of whom has over 40 years’ experience in children’s social
work. They tell
The Parliamentary Review
that their backgrounds
in managing fostering services across the public and private
sectors alike equipped them well to open AFA Fostering. In this
article, they expand on the company’s background and discuss
the stability, financial situation and political perception of the
foster care sector.
AFA Fostering was founded with the intention of providing high-quality support
to foster carers 24 hours a day, in order to enable them to provide the best
care possible to the children placed with them. Our directors have experienced
the impact of independent fostering agencies being bought and sold by private
equity companies in previous employment, where the focus of delivering the best
childcare was often diluted in the pursuit of profit.
Our mission statement of delivering “quality care with integrity and respect”
underpins all our operations and is as integral and relevant to the ethos of the
organisation today as it was ten years ago.
Over the past decade, we have responded to and developed new services to reflect
societal needs, impacted by pressures caused by a policy of austerity and cutbacks
to local authority budgets. Initially delivering what could be seen as “mainstream”
fostering services to local authorities in East Anglia, primarily Norfolk and Suffolk,
FACTS ABOUT
ANGLIA FOSTERING AGENCY
»Directors: Nigel Pickering and
Graeme Duncombe
»Founded in 2009, began
trading in 2010
»Located in Norwich
»Services: Children’s foster care
provision
»No. of employees: 24
Anglia Fostering
Agency
33ANGLIA FOSTERING AGENCY |
HEALTH & SOCIAL WORK
we moved into the East Midlands
area after being accepted onto the
consortium of East Midlands local
authorities framework.
We have recruited carers throughout
this area in order to offer our services
in Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire,
Derbyshire and Leicestershire, allowing
us to open an area office to support
our carers locally. This geographical
spread was followed by the
development of our “intensive” and
“therapeutic” fostering services. These
allow us to respond to the increasing
numbers of children entering the
care system with more challenging
behaviours who often require higher
levels of emotional support. They
have been heavily impacted by local
authorities closing their preventative
family support and early years services,
in order to meet their increasingly
restrictive financial constraints.
Our policy
We have, therefore, developed services
for more challenging placements by
providing “intensive” placements for
children who are assessed as struggling
to fit into family life, but, with ongoing
intensive help, should have the
opportunity to do so.
To assist with this, we also provide
“step down from residential”
placements for children assessed as
being able to leave residential units,
but who will need intensive input to
enable them to make the transition to
family life. We believe that the positive
experiences of family life should be
available to all children. It is likely they
will one day be parents themselves
and will be aided by their own positive
family experiences.
We employ our own highly qualified
therapist and social workers to deliver
intensive support to these foster
families, in order to enable the carers
to deliver therapeutic parenting and
to respond to and meet the needs of
theirchildren.
Here at the AFA we also provide parent
and child placements, with foster carers
who have received detailed training to
enable them to carry out the task of
providing a safe environment allowing
the parent to demonstrate the qualities
needed to successfully care for and
nurtureachild. Parent and child
Happy children at AFA
Our mission
statement of
delivering
“quality care
with integrity
and respect”
underpins all
our operations
and is as
integral and
relevant to the
ethos of the
organisation
today as it was
ten years ago
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
34 | ANGLIA FOSTERING AGENCY
foster carers work closely with the
team around the child to help assess
progress and ensure the child is safe at
all times.
We currently care for around 100
children at any one time. Over 70
per cent of these children live with
their foster families on a “long term”
basis, meaning they will remain
there throughout their childhood
and beyond. We hope to achieve a
level of stability and develop safe,
secure relationships in order that
these children can go on to lead
successful adult lives. We would not
have had the opportunity to do this in
anothersetting.
Most of the children in our placements
do not move as a result of unplanned
endings, or placement breakdowns.
Instead they move when the time is
right for them, often beyond the age
of 18 after they have left care, and
many go on to further education.
Current issues
We are frustrated that the stability and
investment in children’s futures is often
overlooked by local politicians when
they discuss the cost of foster care.
Through wrongly making comparisons
between what they describe as high-
cost private sector placements and
local authority placements they do
not always recognise that when all
the component parts of delivering
foster care are put together in one
place, the cost of local authority care
is very similar to that of independent
fosteringagencies.
Politicians need to examine the
true savings, compared with the
importance of getting it right for future
generations. We hope to develop an
agency which allows our children to
have the chance to grow up in stable
families, to achieve in their education,
to live healthy lives both physically and
mentally and to have the chance to
work, pay taxes and successfully parent
their own children in the future.
We feel political interest is often rooted
in the short term, whereas nurturing a
child to become a responsible member
of society is very much a long-term
responsibility. The successful fostering
of a child has positive long-term
benefits both on an individual and
societal level, and we are proud that
our work aids this.
We hope to
achieve a level
of stability and
develop safe,
secure
relationships in
order that
these children
can go on to
lead successful
adult lives. We
would not
have had the
opportunity to
do this in
another setting
Some of the AFA team

www.afafostering.com

This article was sponsored by Anglia Fostering Agency. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.



Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development