As Practice lead, you will:
- Support the Registered Manager in developing the carer recruitment strategy for the whole organisation.
- Support the Marketing and Recruitment Officer in the development and implementation of recruitment campaigns throughout the year. This will include general oversight as well as monitoring effectiveness of campaigns and providing reports to the Registered Manager.
- Ensure that carer recruitment is conducted in line with the overall strategy and meeting the needs of the service.
- Oversee and monitor carer’s journey from enquiry through to assessment; lead and develop practice to ensure that enquiries are dealt with efficiently and effectively in line with CFC’s values and ethos.
- Ensure the Skills to Foster course is delivered effectively.
- Manage and co-ordinate the recruitment and assessment process for the whole organisation, including decision making from initial enquiry through to assessment and presentation at panel.
- Monitor and oversee completion of all initial enquiry visits and Form F assessment reports in preparation for Panel. Ensuring all recruitment activity is appropriately recorded in CHARMS to enable effective monitoring.
- Ensure that all regulatory requirements have been met and maintain an excellent standard of assessment and reports across the organisation.
- Supervise Independent Social Workers undertaking Form F assessments.
- Take the lead and develop practice around completion of assessments, keep up to date with new research in this area. Ensure that staff are provided with effective training to develop the appropriate skills in completing foster carer assessments. This may include delivering training personally as necessary.
- Undertake role of Panel Advisor for the agency.

Fostering better outcomes – Therapeutic practice, learning and development.
As practice lead for this area, you will:

- Actively contribute to the design/implementation of staff training programmes. This may require you to undertake/deliver training personally as necessary.
- Take ownership of the carer training and development plan. Supported by a business support officer, you will be responsible for developing the training plan for the year for the whole organisation. The training plan will be informed by identified learning needs.
- Monitor and quality assure carers’ personal development plans, support Social Workers to identify areas of development for individual carers as well as provide reports identifying learning needs for the whole organisation. This is to ensure that carers are provided with the skills required to meet the needs of the children we look after.
- Lead on the development of therapeutic practice across the agency; keep up to date with new research and developments in this area. Support the Registered Manager in the development and delivery of a therapeutic fostering model.
- Work closely with the consultant psychotherapists; co-ordinate and monitor their work, ensuring that we are fully utilising the resource as well as fulfilling any contractual obligations entered into for additional placement support.
- Take a lead in the support and development of our commitment to critical reflection and explorative approach; co-ordinate and oversee the implementation of related initiatives such as the “Reflective Therapeutic Work discussion groups”.
- To take overall responsibility for meeting the learning needs of social work students undertaking work placements within CFC.
- To take a lead on ensuring that CFC provide an effective AYSE programme for newly qualified social workers as required.

Key drivers of considerations
As a Social Worker- Practice Manager you will, at all times:
• Adhere to Relevant Legislation and Regulation including The Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011.
• Work consistently with Community Foster Care’s values and contribute to achieving its mission.
• Seek to develop and enhance good social work practice for yourself and for others.
• Promote Community Foster Care’s reputation and protect its ability to achieve its mission.

Key requirements you should be aware of:
• Social Worker – Practice Manager may often be required to work outside of office hours. This may be to:
o Offer support to Foster Carers in order to promote the wellbeing of the Child or Young Person or Foster Family or both.
o Meet with potential foster carers or existing foster carers to assess, provide training or support.
o Support a child / young person’s arrival with a family.
• You will need to participate and provide management cover in the out of hours telephone support rota.
• You must be able to travel effectively, as extensive travel will be a key feature of the role.
• You must be a qualified Social Worker with your own Social Work England registration.

Main Duties and Responsibilities
Team Leader

• Manage operational effectiveness of the team, Supervising Social Workers, allocating and prioritising workloads and taking responsibility for ensuring all cases are safely managed. In some circumstances manage a case directly to ensure safe resolution.

• Ensure that social work case records, assessments, plans and documentation for all children and young people for whom the team is responsible are effectively maintained in line with practice standards and organisational policy and procedure.

• Chair meetings as required, such as carer reviews, end of placement reviews, stability meetings and Standards of Care meetings etc.

• To establish and maintain effective working relationships with Local Authorities and other key agencies to achieve best outcomes for young people and to represent the agency in external forums.

• Facilitate, participate and make successful activities that enable the agency to recruit people that align with our values and become successful foster carers.

• Undertake comprehensive assessments of potential Foster Carers in line with relevant regulatory requirements and timescales, presenting a coherent and analytical report to the Agency Panel.

Retention, Support and Stability
• Work with colleagues within Community Foster Care to promote the retention of Foster Carers, by ensuring that there are effective partnership relationships between the agency and the Foster Carers. To ensure that Foster Carers’ issues are understood, and problems resolved.
• When necessary, take a lead responsibility for a small ‘case load’ of families as defined by the Registered Manager. With these allocated families you will undertake to a high standard key duty including:
o At least monthly supervision and ongoing support.
o Ensure all appropriate recording by the Foster Carer is verified.
o Biannual unannounced visits.
o Ensure that our Foster Carers are compliant with requirement for medical and DBS checks.
o Ensuring the families’ safer carer plan is relevant and appropriate.
o Annually review Foster Carer’s Personal Development Plan.
o Prepare a comprehensive, coherent and analytical Foster Carer annual review.
o Ensure effective, up to date and accurate recording on Charms.

• To prepare high quality expressions of interest which have been completed following an analytical matching assessment. The assessment will be based on the agency’s comprehensive understanding of the foster family including their previous experience, evidenced skills, knowledge and support needs. The requirement for any additional resources will also be considered. Community Foster Care will only offer placements based on sound judgements as to the placement’s ability to meet the needs of the child who requires a placement.

• Promote and support the child or young person’s successful integration and ongoing stability within the foster family through:

o Facilitating effective placement planning with all stakeholders, which is reviewed at least annually.
o Appraise and respond to fluctuation in your assessment of placement stability.
o Ensure that Delegated Authority is clearly understood and set appropriately.
o Completing and reviewing as required, the child’s risk assessment.
o Regular meetings with the foster child where they can talk freely.
o Engage where required in Therapeutic Support with relevant parties.
• Work with tenacity and courage in line with best practice to safeguard all children. This will include, but is not restricted to:
o Completing comprehensive and timely risk assessments.
o Enabling and monitoring the safe practice of Foster Carers.
o Working effectively within the Charities policies and structures and with other Agencies and Professionals.
o Ensuring effective communication with Children, Young people and Adults.
o Working effectively within the relevant local policies.
o Completing effective recording including Ofsted notifications.
o Challenging ineffective or unsafe practice or decisions.
o Ensure adherence to the Health and Safety Policy.

• Facilitate and arrange learning and development opportunities for Foster Carers, including
o Support group.
o Training days.
o 1:1 learning.
o Signposting to key courses.

• To engage in monthly supervision with your designated line manager.

• To identify own training needs and to attend training courses in order to improve practice and in accordance with Social Work England requirements.

What we require from all our employees:
• A commitment and alignment with Community Foster Care’s Values.
• A tenacity and commitment to resolve and develop our ability to enable children to thrive.
• A willingness to embrace challenge and actively seek constructive feedback.
• A willingness and ability to be highly functioning team player.
• A commitment to anti oppressive practice, underpinned by an understanding and promotion of equality and diversity.

To apply...


Sarah Spargo