Acorn Group Announcement

On 3rd August 2016 Acorn Care and Education was acquired from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan by SSCP Spring Bidco Limited, which is a holding company in the National Fostering Agency (NFA) Group.

Established in 2005, Acorn has built a reputation as a high quality children’s services provider, offering special needs education (SEN), residential and foster care, for children and young adults with complex needs. Acorn builds its care around the unique situation and individual circumstances of each child.

NFA is a leading provider of independent fostering services, helping to support Local Authorities meet their statutory sufficiency duty to provide safe and secure foster homes for those children and young people for whom they have a legal responsibility.

The acquisition will add residential and SEN capabilities to NFA’s existing fostering services, enabling the combined group to offer more ways to improve the life chances for vulnerable and looked after children and young people. While NFA and Acorn will continue to focus on their individual operations, the combined organisation will be responsible for 5.8% of looked after children placements nationally. Acorn’s fostering arm is a good geographic fit for NFA, enabling capacity growth in a somewhat fragmented independent provider sector.

Iain Anderson, Group Chief Executive for NFA said “There are currently over 93,000 looked after children in the United Kingdom of whom 55,400 are with foster families registered with either a Local Authority or an Independent Fostering Provider. Fostering Network, an established charity in the sector, noted in January 2016 there was a national shortfall of 9,070 foster carers.

Support to children’s services is provided by a range of public sector and independent providers and it is essential we ensure the resources needed for the care of looked after children are maintained and readily available. Working with the specialist teams at Acorn will help us provide a broad range of these much needed quality resources for the care, education and future development of vulnerable children.”