Statement of purpose

Scope Fostering Service 2016

Specialist fostering and family based short breaks for disabled children



Section one            Status and constitution     

Section two            Aims and objectives

Section three          Service provision – specialist support    

Section four            Management and staffing 

Section five            Recruitment, assessment and support of foster carers         

Section six             Complaints   



(a) Vision of Scope fostering services

We believe disabled people should have the same opportunities as everyone else. We run services and campaigns with disabled people to make this happen. As a charity with expertise in complex support needs and cerebral palsy we never set limits on potential.

Scope’s model for achieving equality and inclusion is incorporated in the provision of Scope fostering services, a developing Independent Fostering Agency – based in Scope Services Central Region. The aim of the service is to enable disabled children and young people to access family based services and benefit from the opportunities provided.

(b) Statement of purpose

This document sets out the statement of purpose for Scope’s Fostering Service, as required by the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011. 

It meets the objective of the Fostering Services National Minimum Standards that children, their parents, foster carers, staff and responsible authorities of children placed are clear about the aims and objectives of the fostering service and what services and facilities it provides.

The statement will be reviewed on an annual basis and updated as necessary.

(c) Children’s guide

The children’s guide to Scope fostering services includes a summary of what the service sets out to do. The guide is available to children / young people, families and all Scope Foster Carers.

The guide contains information on how a child or young person can find out their rights, contact their independent reviewing officer and the Children’s Commissioner, secure access to an independent advocate, raise concerns with Ofsted, and complain to Scope Management and Trustees or the Scope Responsible Individual.

The guide is capable of adaptation, to meet the communication needs of different children and young people accessing the service or their parents or carers.

(d) Service policies and procedures

The policies and procedures of Scope Fostering Services (as well as any written guidance to staff and foster carers) accurately reflect the statement of purpose of the service and are kept under regular review.

(e) Supporting anti-discrimination

In line with Scope’s policies, Scope fostering services believe that all citizens within society are of equal value and have equal rights to education, leisure and community activities – whatever their race, gender, sexuality, ability, age or religion. This will extend to the way in which people are responded to, both within and outside Scope fostering services.

Status and constitution

Scope fostering services is an Independent Fostering Agency owned and managed by Scope, based in Scope Services Central Region.
Scope is a national charity established in 1952 that believes disabled people should have the same opportunities as everyone else. We run services and campaigns with disabled people to make this happen.

(a) Registered provider

Scope is a Company limited by guarantee number 520866 and a registered charity number 208231.

(b) Responsible individual on behalf of Scope

Vanessa Stanislas – Director of Quality
6 Market Road
London N7 9PW
Telephone 020 7619 7100

(c) Registered Manager

Heather Gardner - Fostering Service Manager
Scope Fostering Services
New Cambridge House
Bassingbourn Road
Nr Royston
Telephone 0300 303 2962

(d) Premises

New Cambridge House
Bassingbourn Road
Nr Royston
Telephone 0300 303 2962
The management of Scope fostering services and Regional Managers meet regularly. They have responsibility for the following:
  • Vision and direction of the service and quality assurance
  • Policies, procedures and legal compliance
  • Annual business, development and financial plans.

Section two
Aims and objectives

(a) Alignment with national strategy

The primary aim of Scope fostering services is to achieve the best possible outcomes for children / young people. Scope exists to drive changes that will make this country a better place for disabled people and their families. Everything we do should contribute to that. The services we run, the issues we choose to campaign on and the way we raise money should all help to bring about the changes we want to see.
Scope’s strategy aims to support people to have Fulfilling Family Lives. This underpins the aims of the fostering service in supporting fostered disabled children to become stronger and more resilient as part of a foster family.

(b) Main objectives of Scope fostering services

(1)  To meet the needs of disabled children / young people and their foster carers

  • Responding to the recognised demand for specialist placements, as a supportive service for families that exists within fostering and short break services.
  • Developing a resource that maximises upon the knowledge and expertise of Scope as a service user led organisation for disabled people; to more effectively make a difference to a child / young person, their family and the foster carer’s experience of fostering and short breaks.
  • Providing specialist support, training and resources to foster carers, through Scope – making placements sustainable and successful.
  • Valuing its staff and foster carers for their commitment to the service.
  • The specialist expertise they provide is rewarded in a number of ways: training, development, support, and financial payment.

(2) Safeguarding children / young people

  • Operating robust child protection procedures to ensure that any child / young person placed with the service is safeguarded against actual or threat of abuse, child exploitation or grooming.
  • Undertaking and reviewing appropriate risk assessments in relation to any placement, so that measures are in place to minimise risk to each child / young person – whilst recognising the individual’s right to take risks.
  • Exploring and identifying how the child / young person communicates; how they indicate choice and express themselves, verbally and non-verbally, and what make them feel these emotions.
  •  Contributing to the provision of essential information, identifying strengths and areas that foster carers can support the child / young person with. Understanding the impact of disability on child development and attachment.
  • Ensuring that all its foster carers receive any necessary training around policies and procedure required by fostering regulations and standards – including confidentiality, secure record keeping, the handling of medication, and delivery of intimate care and delegated medical procedures.
  • Promoting contact with the child / young person’s birth family, where appropriate, to ensure families maintain their significant supportive and advocate role.

(c) Scope’s quality assurance systems

Scope fostering services aims to ensure that the service offered is of a high standard and continuously improves through a number of ways.
  1. Consultation with key people (such as the child / young person, carers, families, professionals) in order to identify the strengths of the service and areas to be improved.
  2. Through inspection and internal review with Scope, to ensure that the service meets regulatory requirements and the objectives of Scope – which strives to achieve equality in society for disabled people.
  3. Monitoring and self-evaluation through Scope Services Quality and Compliance systems and line management monitoring of all services.
  4. Networking with other fostering agencies, to ensure that Scope fostering services maintains high standards and that the service is receptive and responsive to new developments and examples of good practice.

Section three
Service provision – specialist support

(a) Referral criteria

Access to the Scope fostering services is by referral (either through Local Authority Children’s Services, or other professional organisations) or following direct contact from the family.
All children and young people must have their funding agreed prior to the placement commencing – although an initial assessment can take place.
The fostering service is offered to children and young people from birth to their eighteenth birthday and Staying Put arrangements will be considered for all children as they transition into Adult Services.

(b) Placements

We will be increasing service provision and resources as part of Scope’s five year plan to ensure fostering services develop both nationally and regionally.
Our core mission is to meet the placement needs of disabled children / young people for a range of support and draws upon the bedrock of professional expertise in the wider Scope organisation. We provide the following services:
  • Short term fostering – when it is planned for the child to remain in the placement for only a specified period, or until certain tasks have been completed 
  • Long term fostering – when the child’s care plan is to remain in the placement until they move into adulthood. 
  • Short breaks – the provision of a series of planned short placements intended to support families so that they can continue to bring up their own children. 
  • Shared care – where care of the child is shared between foster carers and their parents or carers on an on-going basis. 

We also recruit foster carers who can provide periods of respite to our other foster carers to support them in continuing to provide a placement.  As a service, we support Staying Put arrangements for young adults and help carers work towards promoting young people’s needs into adulthood.

(c) Specialist support

The service recognises that disabled children / young people, and their families experience greater intervention from a number of professionals and are required to attend numerous meetings and appointments.
Professional intervention that is appropriate and timely can make a significant difference to the levels of stress that families can experience; the quality of care the child / young person receives; and the long-term relationship between the child / young person and family.
Scope fostering services supports its foster carers to play a key role in working in partnership with the birth family and professionals, to create better co-ordinated services and more effective communication.
Scope supports Scope fostering services and its foster carers, who care for disabled children / young people, through the offer of an extensive range of specialist resources available within the Scope organisation, both regionally and nationally, including access to:
  • Specialist therapeutic services – including speech and language, physiotherapy and occupational therapists
  • Qualified learning disability and paediatric nurses
  • Comprehensive training programmes to support working with disabled children / young people and their families
  • Training and assessment premises in Suffolk (Bury St Edmunds) and Cambridgeshire (New Cambridge House) and through Scope’s affiliated groups
  • Consultations, assessments and advice on procedural guidelines, health and education issues
  • Out-of-hours emergency support from Scope’s Fostering Emergency Duty Service and access to line management consultation and decision making in relation to any queries a Scope foster carer may have about a child / young person on placements.

(d) Education

Scope Fostering Services draws upon Scope’s long tradition of providing independent special education to disabled children / young people.

The service enables placements to understand and benefit from meaningful educational opportunities, supporting children / young people to continue to access their mainstream or special educational setting, through the guidance and expertise of Scope Services Central Region or other specialist resources within the organisation.

Section four
Management and staffing

(a) Management

Scope fostering services is a developing service.

Scope employs a Service Manager who has the day to day responsibility for management.
The Service Manager is a qualified social worker (M.A. Social Work 2008) who has completed a Diploma in Management, Level 5.

The Service Manager has over 10 years of social care experience working with disabled children and adults, as well as professional experience of short breaks and long term specialist fostering placements.

(b) Administration

Administration input is provided on a full-time basis, to provide a regular point of contact for the service and to provide back office support.
The service ensures that the requirements of fostering regulations are met in relation to confidentiality, secure record keeping and IT systems, financial processes, fostering panels and policies and procedures.

(c) Business Services Development

The business development team promotes the on-going strategic development of the service, ensuring that it continues to provide focused, high quality support in the areas where it is most required.

(d) Assessments

The service employs social workers who undertake assessments and provide the regular supervision for foster carers. All social workers are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
The number of social workers appointed and administrative input will develop to suit the needs of the service.

(e) Staff supervision

The Service Manager (and each member of the staff team) has a formal recorded supervision at least once a month.

A supervision agreement is set up with each employee and this will set out what both parties expect to receive from the session.

Included in supervision is an individual training plan, which will be reviewed at an annual appraisal and reviewed quarterly.

In addition, qualified social workers have access to continuous professional development to maintain competencies.

(f) Staff training

All staff are provided with induction training, together with opportunities to continue their learning and development through Scope’s existing internal training portfolio, plus specific foster care training provided through organisations such as CoramBAAF and the Fostering Network.

Section five
Recruitment, assessment and support of foster carers

(a) Recruitment

Scope fostering services will:
  • Target recruitment in specific areas where carers may already have some experience or insight into working with disabled children / young people.
  • Enable carers to experience volunteering opportunities at Scope sites, in order to gain first-hand experience of working with disabled children / young people.
  • Provide positive information about what is involved, supporting those applicants who may be discouraged by feelings of lack of suitable experience.
  • Explore attitude and motivation within individuals and families to establish whether they have the necessary qualities to provide a caring home for a disabled child / young person.
  • Emphasise the levels of support Scope can provide to facilitate a successful placement of a disabled child / young person with complex needs.

(b) Assessment

The assessment process follows the requirements of the relevant statutory guidance and standard assessment guidelines established by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering now CoramBAAF – together with the additional guidelines for caring for a disabled child / young person and fostering competencies.

Scope fostering services undertakes rigorous vetting. This includes Disclosure and Barring Service checks, and assessment processes, responding to enquiries of interest by holding a series of meetings to establish motivation and assess whether potential foster carers have the capacity to undertake the necessary responsibilities.

Potential foster carers are supported to understand the demands and the benefits of caring for a disabled child or young person.

(c) Training

Carers have access to information about becoming a foster carer and specifically about caring for disabled children / young people. There is also an on-going training programme available both pre and post approval which covers essential areas, including mandatory courses and more specialised areas of development.
  • Communication
  • Safeguarding / child protection
  • Diversity and disability equality
  • Child development / attachment
  • Manual handling
  • Health and safety / food hygiene
  • Medication / administration of invasive treatment
  • Behaviour management
  • Loss and bereavement

A full list of training is available with our procedures manual. There is also post-approval training, which is on-going and reviewed during supervision and appraisal.

Scope Foster Carers have the opportunity and financial support to undertake further training.

(d) Supervision

Scope supervising social workers aim to contact foster carers on a weekly basis and to hold formal supervision sessions at least once every six weeks. Scope Foster Carers will undergo an annual review of their approval.

(e) Emergencies

Scope fostering services has an out-of-hours advice service for Scope Foster Carers and this is provided by Scope Fostering Emergency Out of Hours Service.

(f) Review of approval

Scope foster carers have their approval reviewed whenever necessary, but at intervals of no more than a year. The first review following approval, and every subsequent third review, will be considered by the fostering panel before being referred to the decision maker. Reviews following a change in circumstances, or which propose a change to approval details, will also be considered by the panel.

The service decision maker determines whether the approval should continue and if so whether or not the terms of approval are still appropriate. Scope foster carers may attend the fostering panel and make their own representation, before a recommendation is made.

(g) Fostering panel

Scope fostering services establishes fostering panels as required, with a membership drawn from the central list of people considered suitable. Fostering panels consider assessments of prospective foster carers and reviews of approved carers (as specified above) and make recommendations to the fostering service’s decision maker. Panels meet the requirements of regulations and are chaired by an independent person.
The service’s decision maker is Stuart Marpole.

(h) Number of foster carers

On 1 June 2016 the service had 31 approved foster care households and there were 26 children and young people in full time or short break placements.

Section six

Scope fostering service’s complaints procedure meets the requirements of fostering regulations and statutory guidance. Scope has a comprehensive complaints resolution procedure in place.

Information on how to make a complaint (or compliment) is included in the children’s guide and information pack which are provided to children / young people, families and fosters carers.

Complaints resolution procedure information is made available in a range of accessible formats to suit differing needs and to enable clients to understand more easily the concept of making a complaint.

Children / young people may need to use an advocate to support them. Scope foster carers will have clear guidance and support, both in dealing with an allegation made about them as well as with making a complaint.
All complaints and their outcomes are recorded, in line with Scope’s procedures. Scope will ensure that the procedures are compliant with developing good practice to meet the duty of candour. Feedback about the service will be positively promoted through the Scope Quality Management Team internal checks and measures, in order to reflect upon and improve the service and individual training needs.
For information and advice on cerebral palsy, disability issues and Scope’s services, please contact Scope's Information and Advice.

Scope Fostering Services
New Cambridge House
Bassingbourn Road
Nr Royston
Telephone 0300 303 2962

Document control

Date policy agreed

28 July 2016

Replaces previous policy    

Fostering services statement of purpose February 2013

Date copy sent to Ofsted  

28 July 2016

Date posted on website    

Review due   28 July 2017