Family Care

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Family Care'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 Family Care 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.family-care.co.uk

BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
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
35FAMILY CARE |
HEALTH & SOCIAL WORK
Group Operations Director
Andrew O’Reilly
Established in 1988, Family Care Group aims to significantly
improve the lives of children and young people across
Shropshire, Cheshire and the North West. Group
Operations Director Andrew O’Reilly tells
The Parliamentary
Review
that the organisation’s fostering, residential and
education services utilise current research to ensure all staff are
in a strong position to support young people in their journey
towards recovery.
Family Care Group was established by Ged Williamson 31 years ago and has been
growing ever since. When he retired, his sons Andy and Phil Williamson took
control. It would have been all too easy for them to sell the company to a venture
capitalist, but they shared their father’s vision of a family-owned organisation
which ensures the children it cares for and educates are supported to take the first
steps towards recovering from childhood trauma.
“Healing pasts, building futures”
If we are to achieve our mission statement – “Healing pasts, building futures” – then
understanding the journey the children in our care have been on from womb to
present day is critically important. This focus on both the past and the future is central
to our thinking and our therapeutic approach, as if you want to support children to
achieve their full potential, it is essential that you understand their lived experience.
Our services cover three main areas: residential care, fostering and the running
of two special schools for SEND pupils. These schools are located in Shropshire
and Cheshire and focus on children who have struggled to access mainstream
FACTS ABOUT
FAMILY CARE
»Group Operations Director:
Andrew O’Reilly
»Established in 1988
»Based in Bamber Bridge, near
Preston
»Services: Independent
fostering agency, residential
care and educational provision
»No. of employees: 107
Family Care
Family Care head office in
Bamber Bridge, Preston
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
36 | FAMILY CARE
education. Our homes operate across
five regions: Telford, Shrewsbury,
Formby, Macclesfield and Oldham.
The final part of our service is our
independent fostering agency, which is
based in Preston and Wolverhampton.
This expansion has been accompanied
with a growth in our turnover, which
currently stands at £6 million.
A therapeutic approach
All our services have a clinician
attached to them. Research tells us
that the most effective approach to
helping children recover is to support
and educate the adults around them.
This ensures consistency of approach,
a deeper understanding of children’s
presenting behaviour and how to
manage it, and, equally importantly,
the development of greater resilience
within them. Being surrounded by
compassionate, consistent, educated,
empathetic and resilient adults
eventually allows children to begin to
trust their carers and teachers, which,
in turn, allows them to take a path
towards recovery.
Our services are underpinned by the
secure base model, which provides
a theoretical framework for the
development of secure attachment in
children. The concept that underpins
it can be extended to include the
benefits arising from the security of
belonging to, and becoming part of, a
new family.
Our clinical team ensure we are able
to demonstrate to placing authorities
evidenced outcomes for their children
while they are in our care. To do this,
we have embraced the BERRI model.
BERRI is the only online assessment
tool to cover mental health, behaviour,
emotional wellbeing, relationships, risk
and attachment. It was developed by
a clinician with extensive experience of
looked-after children and those with
complex needs.
Within residential care services, once
the child’s behaviour is stabilised, a
significant goal is to support a move
back to their birth family or into foster
care. Due to a variety of factors,
including budgetary constraints, a
number of local authorities either
attempt to transition children from
residential settings to foster families
too swiftly, or move children from
foster placement to foster placement.
This approach may save money in
the short term, but quite often it will
only lead to much greater expense
over a long period of time, caused by
multiple placement breakdowns and
increasingly difficult behaviour from
the child, which makes the child harder
to place.
Action for Children have found that
more than a fifth of UK children in
foster care have moved home two
or more times a year. The damage
these moves cause should not be
underestimated, and researchers have
found that children with multiple
placements have between 36 and 63
per cent greater risk of developing
behavioural challenges than children in
The Secure Base Model –
Beek & Schofield, 2004
Our clinical
team ensure
we are able to
demonstrate
to placing
authorities
evidenced
outcomes for
their children
while they are
in our care
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
36 | FAMILY CARE
education. Our homes operate across
five regions: Telford, Shrewsbury,
Formby, Macclesfield and Oldham.
The final part of our service is our
independent fostering agency, which is
based in Preston and Wolverhampton.
This expansion has been accompanied
with a growth in our turnover, which
currently stands at £6 million.
A therapeutic approach
All our services have a clinician
attached to them. Research tells us
that the most effective approach to
helping children recover is to support
and educate the adults around them.
This ensures consistency of approach,
a deeper understanding of children’s
presenting behaviour and how to
manage it, and, equally importantly,
the development of greater resilience
within them. Being surrounded by
compassionate, consistent, educated,
empathetic and resilient adults
eventually allows children to begin to
trust their carers and teachers, which,
in turn, allows them to take a path
towards recovery.
Our services are underpinned by the
secure base model, which provides
a theoretical framework for the
development of secure attachment in
children. The concept that underpins
it can be extended to include the
benefits arising from the security of
belonging to, and becoming part of, a
new family.
Our clinical team ensure we are able
to demonstrate to placing authorities
evidenced outcomes for their children
while they are in our care. To do this,
we have embraced the BERRI model.
BERRI is the only online assessment
tool to cover mental health, behaviour,
emotional wellbeing, relationships, risk
and attachment. It was developed by
a clinician with extensive experience of
looked-after children and those with
complex needs.
Within residential care services, once
the child’s behaviour is stabilised, a
significant goal is to support a move
back to their birth family or into foster
care. Due to a variety of factors,
including budgetary constraints, a
number of local authorities either
attempt to transition children from
residential settings to foster families
too swiftly, or move children from
foster placement to foster placement.
This approach may save money in
the short term, but quite often it will
only lead to much greater expense
over a long period of time, caused by
multiple placement breakdowns and
increasingly difficult behaviour from
the child, which makes the child harder
to place.
Action for Children have found that
more than a fifth of UK children in
foster care have moved home two
or more times a year. The damage
these moves cause should not be
underestimated, and researchers have
found that children with multiple
placements have between 36 and 63
per cent greater risk of developing
behavioural challenges than children in
The Secure Base Model –
Beek & Schofield, 2004
Our clinical
team ensure
we are able to
demonstrate
to placing
authorities
evidenced
outcomes for
their children
while they are
in our care
37FAMILY CARE |
HEALTH & SOCIAL WORK
stable placements. Multiple placements
have been found to lead to delayed
permanency outcomes, academic
difficulties and significant impacts
on the child’s ability to develop
meaningful attachments.
While children’s homes are significantly
more expensive than foster care, we
believe a long-term view should be
adopted. If a child can be stabilised
within a residential setting, the
likelihood of a placement breaking
down once the child has moved to
a fostering placement decreases
significantly. This will result in cost
savings for the local authority, not
to mention decreased trauma for
thechild.
By accepting residential care as a first
option for some young people, local
authorities can simultaneously improve
care, save money and most importantly
enhance the life chances of its looked-
after children.
A braver commissioning
process
In recent years, we have been
successful in securing “block booking”
contracts with local authorities.
These arrangements, while providing
financial stability for Family Care, have
also led to considerable savings for
local authorities. The benefits of a
block booking arrangement are clear:
financial predictability for the provider,
which translates into lower weekly fees
for the local authority. Because we
are working to such small margins, it
is essential we remain at full capacity,
and working with local authorities
in this way gives us the ability to
offer reduced weekly fees. One local
authority has so far saved £200,000
over a two-year period.
We strongly believe that if this model,
which was recommended in Sir Martin
Narey’s 2016 report on residential care
in England, was adopted and rolled
out on a larger scale, savings could
reach the millions.
This would also help to tackle one of
the most pressing issues within our
sector, which is placing vulnerable
children in unregistered beds. This
decision is only taken due to a
lack of available beds in registered
settings. If a braver commissioning
process was embraced, we could
entirely circumvent the need for this
everoccurring.
By accepting
residential care
as a first option
for some young
people, local
authorities can
simultaneously
improve care,
save money and
most
importantly
enhance the life
chances of its
looked-after
children
Acorns and Lyth Hill
children’s homes in
Telford and Shropshire

www.family-care.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Family Care. 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