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'Inadequate' rating for fostering at Slough Children's Services Trust

A fostering agency run by the Slough Children’s Services Trust has been rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.

Inspectors said some children ‘had not been protected from harm’ and criticised leaders, managers and staff for failing to ensure youngsters are safe.

An inspection of the trust, carried out from April 8 to April 12, said some of the planning for child placements was ‘insufficient and inconsistent’ with carers not always prepared for a child’s needs.

The report said: “For some children, this has resulted in poor experiences, such as being placed in a fostering household with inadequate sleeping arrangements.”

The failure to appoint a registered manager in the last 18 months had a negative impact on the oversight, stability and management of the service, the report added.

Inspectors also criticised leaders, managers and staff for not routinely challenging poor practice by foster carers.

While incidents of children going missing are rare, the report said staff and foster carers lacked sufficient curiosity to explore the reasons behind disappearances.

Inspectors found that all children were engaged with clear individual support plans that helped them to achieve their potential.

The trust took over the borough’s children’s services in October 2015 after the council received an inadequate Ofsted rating the year before.

A three-week long inspection carried out in January this year found the trust as a whole had made significant progress in tackling ‘deep-rooted problems’.

It received a rating of ‘requires improvement to be good’.

Lisa Humphreys, chief executive at Slough Children’s Services Trust, said: “The latest inspection focussed on our fostering service and implementing the report’s recommendations is now an absolute priority.

“We had already started work on some of the issues highlighted and are addressing others immediately.

“While these latest findings are extremely disappointing, we are seeing significant progress across the Trust as a whole.”

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