Employer Zone

Suffolk County Council

In the spotlight

New approaches, new ideas to help children get a fresh start

A sponsored feature from Suffolk County Council

Suffolk County Council is looking for someone to head its ‘good’ rated Fostering and Adoption service. Could that be you? Find out more about the Head of Fostering and Adoption role and what it is like to work in Suffolk.

As our head of fostering and adoption, you will not only be making a difference to the lives of children in Suffolk but across the East of England.

Rather than creating a separate arms’ length regional adoption agency, we are forming a collaborative alliance with four other East of England councils to share best practice and expertise while retaining our own service. As our new head of service, you will play a lead role in our contribution to that alliance; helping to give children and young people across the region a fresh start in life.

Cliff James, Head of Corporate Parenting at Suffolk says: “Our dedicated adoption staff will remain employed by Suffolk County Council and are going to collaborate with other local authorities,”

“One of our contributions to that alliance is that we have a very strong post-adoption support offer and so the Head of Fostering and Adoption is going to play a lead role in sharing and supporting that across the region.”

The best possible future

Children and young people in care need a fostering and adoption service that gives them and their carers the very best support, and at Suffolk County Council, we do just that.

Our stable and experienced social work team offers children first-class post-adoption support, committed foster carers and dedicated therapeutic support when needed. It is also a team with a belief in always seeking out new ways to deliver even better outcomes.

We now need a strong fostering and adoption social worker with management experience and a desire to give children the best possible future to head that team.

New approaches, new ideas

Within Suffolk, the head of fostering and adoption will have the opportunity to build on the service’s track record of pioneering new ways of working.

Cliff says: “We are an authority that continues to innovate. One of the projects we are sponsoring at the moment is the Mockingbird Model, where we have hub carers who provide 24/7 support to other fostering households such as respite and help with crises in addition to the support from social workers,”

“We also provide a strong training offer for our foster carers which means we have a highly trained workforce of foster carers. Training is one of the things our carers always speak highly of when the service has been inspected.”

Suffolk is committed to the Signs of Safety model of practice, which has proved to be a valuable tool when reviewing care plans and seeking ways to avert placement breakdowns.

We work closely with our local universities and have contributed to improving practice by contributing to research and service development.

A team that pulls together

“There are so many opportunities to make your mark in this service,” Cliff continues. “Here you will get to be at the forefront of practice, make the outcomes of the National Fostering Stocktake work for Suffolk, harness the opportunities regional collaboration can offer children, and develop support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.”

Behind you will be a tried, tested and experienced team of social workers and managers who pull together to deliver the best for the children and young people they work with.

“There are very good relationships between senior managers and frontline workers in Suffolk as our staff surveys show,” says Cliff. “Managers are very visible and in touch with staff and carers – it is one of our foremost values.”

“Suffolk is a local authority that recognises the qualities and experience offered by our staff and carers. We encourage and support people to achieve and develop. We take pride in looking after our staff and carers because we know that if we do they will do their best for the children.”

Great quality of life

With 830 children and young people in care – of which around 70 per cent are placed with foster carers recruited by the authority – leading this countywide service is a challenge.

It is an exciting challenge and one that comes with the ability and backing you need to deliver better futures for large numbers of children while also enjoying life in a county that marries vibrant urban areas with alluring coastlines and countryside.

Suffolk offers a great quality of life. Here you can still find a really nice property at a reasonable price and enjoy the benefits that comes from living and working in a county that has a good mix of urban and rural communities.

Find out more about the Head of Fostering and Adoption role and Suffolk’s relocation package or for an informal chat about the position, call Cliff James, Head of Corporate Parenting, on 01473 264731.