Making Bristol the best place for children to grow up in is something we’re passionate about. This is even more important when it comes to children in care. We want the children in our care to have a place they feel they can call home.
The circumstances in which children come into our care are often varied and complex. It’s vital we ensure no child is disadvantaged no matter their background or situation. Our teams are focused on ensuring the best possible homes are identified for them – this could be with a foster carer or in a children’s home.
In Bristol, we are working hard to increase the number of children’s homes we have locally so that children do not have to move away from the city and can stay close to their families, friends and schools.
This is why we have set out a vision for our children’s homes across Bristol which involves focussing on opening smaller homes across the city to help children feel at home.
We want our children’s homes to be homely and nurturing. We also strive for the children and young people who live in them to be looked after by kind, knowledgeable and experienced teams. The children should have lots of opportunities growing up, making sure they have access to the best education possible and giving give them the same or better opportunities as their peers so they can enjoy new and fun childhood experiences.
We also aim for the teams caring for children to have the supervision, support, training and development so that the care they provide is of the highest quality and they feel valued.
To help support this vision, we are currently re-profiling our existing homes by closing some of our larger homes and opening smaller homes for two to three children. This allows us to provide children with an environment that feels more like a home and gives them a better quality of care with more one on one support from our dedicated team.
Children are already benefitting from this strategy – we have opened three smaller homes across Bristol which currently care for seven children in total, with a fourth smaller home opening in autumn 2022. We also plan to open at least another three smaller homes in the next three years.
Positive feedback from Ofsted during a recent visit
Recently we have had the opportunity to share our plans with Ofsted. Ofsted’s National Director for Social Care Yvette Stanley, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, and HMI Social Care Inspector Anna Greville visited one of our newer smaller homes and met with the Service Manager Tara Parsons, three of our registered managers and the therapeutic lead for the service. They also met with Mike Jackson, Chief Executive at Bristol City Council, and Gail Rogers, Head of Children’s Commissioning at Bristol City Council. During the visit we received very good feedback. Yvette Stanley said: “It was good to spend time with the residential staff teams who proudly shared their expertise and passion for their work and their children.
“It was also really helpful to meet the Chief Executive and senior managers and to hear about their plans for more therapeutic residential provision so that they can keep more children safely within their communities. Our thanks to all for their warm welcome and best wishes for their future plans.
My recent visit
I too had the pleasure of visiting one of our new children’s homes recently. There were a few things that I took from my visit.
The first is how being a city in which children have a home is a collective responsibility. These children have already been through a lot in their short lives, and they deserve to have somewhere they call home and stay in the city they are from.
The move from large to smaller family homes is welcome. This means more dedicated care and the creation of a more homely environment for the children.
Finally, I need to mention the commitment of the staff at the home I visited. They work tirelessly to make sure the children are well cared for and have access to lots of opportunities. Their situation means they won’t have a childhood like many of their peers, but the staff work to make sure they lead full lives and feel cared for.
Why not join the team?
If you want to be a part of the journey of our children in care, why not join our team during this exciting time?
We currently have vacancies for three Senior Residential Child Care Workers and one Residential Child Care Worker. The vacancies Senior Residential Child Care Workers close on 6 October 2022 and the vacancy for Residential Child Care Worker closes on 4 October 2022.