Leyton News

Fostering agency shuts down after girl’s allegation against carers

The agency failed to notice when “serious historical concerns” about the carers emerged
By Victoria Munro

Stock image (credit: Pixabay)
Stock image (credit: Pixabay)

A Leyton fostering agency has shut down after a child was allowed to stay with carers despite “serious historical concerns” about their treatment of children emerging. 

Ofsted inspectors visited the Child Focus Fostering Agency in Balmoral Road in June and found “significant shortfalls” in its “ability to keep children safe”.

At the time, the agency had six children placed with foster carers, many of whose “efforts and commitment” were praised in the report, but only one supervising social worker.

The inspection followed a monitoring visit to the agency in May after a girl the agency was responsible for “made an allegation against her foster carers”.

Social care inspector Sandra Jacobs-Walls found the agency’s last manager had resigned in April last year and still not been replaced, writing: “This situation is untenable and not in children’s best interests.”

Investigation into the matter revealed that, at some point after the girl’s foster carers were first approved by the agency, “serious historical concerns relating to [their] care of children who were related to them” emerged.

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Sandra’s report adds: “The responsible individual said that she was not aware of and had not seen this document. 

“This demonstrates that the provider has failed to ensure that, when they receive key updated information, prompt action is taken to ensure that foster carers are suitable to care for children.”

During the inspection in June, one foster carer told Sandra: “There is no one to help us. There is no staff here. My young person was very challenging. I had to call the local authority to come and remove the child.”

Another told Sandra that the agency was impossible to reach even in emergency situations, stating: “Even when children are missing, no one responds.”

Sandra wrote: “Records of supervisory visits indicate that children are very rarely seen or spoken with by staff. Staff do not ask children whether they are satisfied with the care they receive.”

The fostering agency was run by Sherico Care Services Ltd, registered to the same address in Balmoral Road.

Attempts to reach both Child Focus Fostering Agency and Sherico Care Services Ltd for comment were unsuccessful.

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