South West and West Midlands
My name is Adrian Chappell and I’m the registered manager for the South West and West Midlands Five Rivers Fostering Service. The South West Service has offices in Bristol, Gloucester and Bromsgrove. We currently have 79 approved foster carers and we cover the following areas and surrounding areas of Birmingham, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Bristol, Somerset and Swindon.
We have an energetic and committed staff group who support our carers using a multi-disciplinary approach. In our team we have administrators to support all the work the team does: they include supervising social workers, fostering-support workers, a clinical psychologist and a dedicated management team to support our staff and carers. In addition to their formal social work qualifications, we have within the team staff with personal experience as adopters, foster carers and adults who have previously been in care themselves. This offers a great base and understanding of the young people who live with our foster carers and enhances the support we are able to offer to maximise the potential our young people reach in our care.
A dedicated annual foster carer training programme equips all carers for the task at hand. All our carers also have the opportunity to attend accredited therapeutic training that offers a formal qualification on completion. Monthly foster carer support groups, and regular activities for foster carers and young people, are further support experiences throughout the year.
While I can give a general description of what it’s like to be a foster carer with Five Rivers, or a child or young person with a Five Rivers carer, it is much better to let them comment for themselves:
“The support from social workers is good and we feel like we have been welcomed into the local carer community.” Comment from new carers: Glyn and Lorrain
“When I first called out of hours I had Steph who was amazing, but the one thing she said to me which reassured me – and she didn’t have to – was that she was only in Thornbury and can get to me quickly if I needed her. It was like music to my ears when my young lad is trying to break the door down to get to the girls, and she didn’t need to say it. So please can you convey my thanks to her.” Comment from an established carer
Paul and Sue: “We have been foster carers for 18 years. We made a great decision to join Five Rivers three years ago and the transition was smooth and well managed. The training is up to date, helpful and insightful. We feel thoroughly supported as a whole family where nothing seems to be too much and our experience with our supervising social worker has been great. We feel like part of a fostering Five Rivers family, with a local support group, local training and a fantastic children’s awards celebration every year.” Paul and Sue, established carers
“After researching many fostering agencies, my husband and I chose Five Rivers for many reasons but mainly for their commitment to their carers. Through Five Rivers we are able to access a vast range of training that can only enhance our abilities to support the young people who come through our doors.
Every young person is unique, but they all have one thing in common: they have all experienced trauma.
The challenges that come our way as a result need a lot of understanding and we need a lot of virtual tools in our virtual toolbox in order to face them and support our young people, and these can only be acquired by training and education. Parenting our young people is different to parenting our own children; they need many more therapeutic techniques and these skills are all available to learn through Five Rivers and the agencies they hire to support us.
Through difficult times we have experienced the support from Five Rivers to be available and appropriate to support us as carers, and our young person’s placement. The training we’ve received, and continue to receive, has given us the ability to further understand what’s happening for these children and what we can do to support them through their day to day existence, their childhood and beyond.
Not very good at wordy stuff!! All I want to say is that I couldn’t do it without you!”
Ali, established carer
“I like going to the skate park, visiting Devon and Avon Valley and having pocket money.” Comment from a child, 5-10
Gareth recently told our Ofsted inspector that living within the Five Rivers community is
“like being part of a family.” Sophie had some real placement challenges and said to our supervising social worker Mike: “I am so grateful, I am over the moon. Thank you so much for fighting for me, you have made my life better.” Comment from a child, 10-18
Our local authority social workers say
“I feel that DG is an absolutely outstanding carer and goes above and beyond to support the children and young people in placement with him. I can honestly say he is the best carer I have worked with so far in my career (9 years) and feel that he does deserve some recognition of the care and commitment he provides.”
Local authority social worker: “It is with much regret that I am leaving Swindon on Friday. I would like to say thank you for the support and the foster carer you have allowed me to place my children with and I leave with great satisfaction that life will be better for him.”
Our latest Ofsted inspection report said
“We judged that your agency is a very good one” and “Children have good relationships with their foster carers. They trust them and are supported to achieve their potential emotionally and educationally and to improve their physical health. Placement stability rates are good compared to the national average, and a third of children are looked after by their carers for two years or more.”
I hope very much you’ll be interested in finding out more about joining the family of Five Rivers foster carers.
Office addresses and contact details
Five Rivers Child Care, Suite 7, Westbury Court, Church Road, Westbury on Trym, Bristol, BS0 3EF
Tel: 0117 9594690
Five Rivers Child Care, Unit 8, The Steadings, Maissemore, Gloucester, GL2 8EY
Tel: 01452 203159
Five Rivers Child Care, Isidore Road, Bromsgrove Enterprise Park Bromsgrove, B60 3ET
Tel: 01527 834653