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  • Status: Realised
  • Date: 2012–2019
  • Sector:
    • Healthcare & Life Sciences

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Partnerships in Children’s Services

With Sovereign's support, Partnerships in Children’s Services (PiCS) grew to become a family of fostering agencies with a common determination to give looked-after children a better future. At the end of the investment period PiCS had developed its high-quality services, expanded its geographic reach and was the UK's third largest fostering services provider.

Investment Background

The founders of Fosterplus, both social workers, created an agency to operate with the best principles of fostering services. Sixteen years on, Fosterplus had grown into a nationwide provider. Keen to expand the agency, they looked for an outside investor that could take Fosterplus to the next stage of growth while respecting the organisation’s ethos and values.

Paul Snell said: “We were excited about the opportunity for Fosterplus to become a nationwide, premium, end-to-end provider of childcare services with Sovereign’s support. But while we were ambitious for the company, we were not prepared to throw aside everything that we'd created at Fosterplus. An external investor had to have a plan for growing the business that retained our ethos and values – the set-up had to be right for both of us and our staff. Sovereign listened to us and understood where we were coming from. Anyone can crunch numbers – you need people who understand the softer issues."

Sovereign invested in the agency to develop it further. Paul stepped back from the day-to-day running of Fosterplus whilst staying on as a non-executive director.

Value Creation

  • Creation of a national agency with c.150 local authority partners
  • Three further acquisitions to diversify the service offering
  • Development of 24/7 service for crisis cases – pioneering in the sector


Fosterplus became part of the newly created Partnerships in Children's Services (PiCS). Three more agencies joined the Group, further developing its high-quality services and expanding its geographic reach. Each agency retained its own unique identity and focused on delivering the best possible outcomes to those in its care:

  • Fosterplus, with 11 offices in England and Scotland, provided outstanding support to its carers, including 24-hour support from a social worker
  • ISP operated seven centres in England, all of which were rated 'Good' or ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED, and offered a unique integrated model of therapeutic foster care and specialist education
  • Orange Grove, with 14 offices across England, was recognised for its focus on quality reflected in its OFSTED ratings
  • Clifford House delivered a holistic and integrated team approach inclusive of social work, education, health and support professionals

At the end of Sovereign's partnership, PiCS provided care to over 1,100 children and was the UK's third largest fostering services provider.

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