Affinity fostering prides itself on listening to the young people in our care through our VOICES group where we consult with our young people about the development of our policies and practice, but primarily to ensure our children are listened to in relation to the service we provide them.
We felt it was equally important to ensure that our Foster Carers had a similar forum to ensure that they felt heard and had a voice in the development of the agency and its business. This is integral to our agency’s ethos of putting children and Foster Carers at the core of what we do.
Our first meeting was held in October 2022 and was fully attended by 12 Foster Carers and two Senior Managers representing Affinity. The first meeting was set to set out the purpose of the Forum and used to ascertain what our Foster Carers wished to achieve by holding these meetings. The Forum identified that they wanted to be proactive in sharing some of the difficulties experienced by Foster Carers and to be solution focused on how Affinity can support in these situations and to explore further peer to peer support. Additionally, the Forum wish to be part of the future development of both the agency and services that they deliver and offer the opportunity for consultation and review, for example Foster Carer Household Reviews and the documentation involved.
These meetings will be held every three months, and all members are provided with minutes detailing agreements, action points and future topics for discussion.
Our Forum members have become advocates of other Foster Carers and are playing a significant role in working with the senior management team in the development of our policies and other matters.
We are, of course, still holding our ‘Keeping in Touch’ days which are overseen by Andy Robins and continue to focus on providing Foster Carers with the opportunity to meet with the Director/Senior Management Team and to feel able to raise any concerns, or alternatively, ideas that may help the agency continue to develop its practices and service delivery.
“We believe it is integral to our service that Foster Carers become more involved in the way we run, as we understand that our foster carers are fundamental to our Ofsted outstanding rating. Without our incredible foster carers we would not be able to achieve positive outcomes for our children and young people.” - Andy Robins
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