Published: 00:01, 26 November 2017
A catalogue of significant failings at a fostering agency has put children at ongoing risk of harm, according to a watchdog.
365 Foster Care moved from Maidstone to Orgarswick Avenue in Dymchurch after an Ofsted probe last month found the service was "inadequate".
Ill-equipped and unqualified staff were mismatching children with families who didn’t possess the knowledge to keep them safe, the report said.
When Ofsted quizzed one manager about internet safeguarding, she said: “I don’t know anything about online safety”.
The report continues: “Serious managerial failures in the oversight of this agency have led to significant failings.
“Safeguarding practices are inadequate, carers and staff have been given insufficient training, and managers have failed to identify or address instances of poor quality of care.
“The manager has failed to evaluate all aspects of the agency adequately and has been ignorant of its shortfalls.”
Failings in the agency’s safeguarding practice present risks to the safety and welfare of children, inspectors added.
Children at high risk of exploitation and going missing were placed with foster carers without support.
"Serious managerial failures in the oversight of this agency have led to significant failings" - Ofsted report
The agency failed to find specialised help to support a child’s mental health and well-being for three months.
An untrained staff member without recruitment checks was employed to provide support work for the vulnerable child.
The report continues: “Unsafe recruitment procedures do not ensure staff are suitably vetted and qualified to work with the children. The agency cannot be assured the children receive competent and safe care”.
Inspectors outlined an improvement plan of 23 recommendations for the agency to comply with the Care Standards Act.
They praised foster carers with the majority “building positive and nurturing relationships with the children”.
At the time of the October inspection 10 foster homes were providing placements for 12 children and young people.
365’s website claims it provides around the clock support with trained staff in an “ethical manner”. The company refused to comment when contacted by KentOnline's sister paper, the Kentish Express.
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