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Five Rivers Child Care in Partnership Case Study

Preventing young children from entering care – an emergency fostering project

Five Rivers created a community-based solution in partnership with a London Borough working with children, young people and their families in an attempt to prevent them from having to enter the care system.

How we did it

Working creatively and adaptively in response to their needs, Five Rivers Child Care established a not-for-profit company in partnership with the Local Authority.

The Authority were given the option to be on the Board and had access on an agreed basis to the management accounts through monthly, then quarterly partnership meetings.

Services were developed in conjunction with the key manager in the London Borough, who ensured they were embedded into the existing provision, avoiding duplication or barriers to communication and working together.

After three months preparation, the scheme was ready to launch, consisting of three elements;

  1. Recruiting Foster carers who would work in emergency situations – filling a specific needs gap
  2. Training those carers to be family workers, conducting home visits
  3. Additional training invested to improve communication and provide new strategies to manage behaviour

The outcome 

Recruiting to meet the specific need was a success: the recruitment specification allowed those carers who wanted to join the profession, but not as traditional foster carers, to achieve their ambition.

With the benefits of the experience of working in partnership with Five Rivers,  several continued their career path becoming social work assistants and two became social workers.

Further contribution to social value

In addition to benefiting the carers, there were multiple benefits for the borough:

  • Speed – we were able to manage the project quickly
  • On budget – the project was delivered efficiently to budget
  • Normal operations weren’t interrupted – we didn’t need to convert and persuade existing staff to take on extra wor
  • A genuine partnership was created – where there was a goodwill on both sides and mutually beneficial energy and optimis
  • A network of support was established – staff and management were able to provide additional informal support to colleagues
  • The project was enjoyed and endorsed – council members enjoyed having an innovative and value for money project under way in their community and the Department of Health spoke highly of the project


The agreement made with the London Borough allowed them to take on the service at the end of the contract period if they wished to do so and with no further expectation from Five Rivers Child Care.  We are proud to say that the authority regarded the service as such a success that they opted to do this and the company was duly handed over on agreed terms.

About Five Rivers Child Care 

We are an established not-for profit company open to working in creative, adaptable collaborations with Local Authorities and others. Our success can be replicated in this and other service areas including Residential, Education and Clinical Services.

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