It’s one of the things that makes fostering what it is, enabling vital relationships to be continued even when a young person cannot, for whatever reason, live with their birth parents. In the majority of cases it’s an essential part of fostering which can bring significant benefits to looked after children and young people and their birth families.
And yet, despite the benefits that contact can bring, all too often I hear that contact can be a time of great stress and distress. Some of this is unavoidable because, despite all the potential positives, for many fostered children and young people contact can be an upsetting, unsettling and confusing time bringing to the surface a range of emotions which can be difficult for them to deal with. However, there are some aspects of contact arrangements, support and preparation which unnecessarily add complication and confusion to what is already a time of heightened emotions. We believe that these elements can, and must, be changed in order to improve the quality of contact across the UK.
The importance of building relationships
Relationships are the golden thread in any person’s life, and are perhaps even more important to children who can’t live with their birth families. While children come in to care for a reason, there is a good deal of research and experience that demonstrates that children who have been uprooted from their birth family often need help to develop a strong sense of their own identity. Contact can enable them to understand this identity - their heritage, traditions, religion, history and so on - in spite of living apart from relatives. Getting contact right is crucial for fostered children and young people’s wellbeing and, in many cases, for the stability of a fostering placement.
Many children in foster care think about their families a lot, and may worry about their relatives’ welfare and what’s going on at home. Seeing their families can reassure them that things are alright. It can also help them to come to terms with why they are in care and perhaps even realise why they can’t go home just yet.
Fostered children may have strong attachments to one or both of their parents, even if these are not very positive. Well-managed contact can help children and their parents develop more positive relationships for the future. This is important as a child moves on to independence and vital if a return home is a possibility.
So, contact is an integral part of fostering and an important part of helping fostered children maintain relationships with their birth family. So why is it so often more difficult than it ought to be? Why does the fostering system make it more complicated and stressful than it need be?
Juggling what the court has instructed for contact and the demands on a foster carer can be very difficult, especially as the responsibility for arranging contact sits with the child’s social worker who may not know the fostering family very well. This can lead to poorly arranged sessions taking place in non-child friendly environments, or situations where a foster carer who is looking after two or three children ends up having to be at different contacts at the same time. This creates a negative experience for foster carers, birth families and fostered children.
We hear from foster carers who have experienced contact being cancelled or altered at the last minute. Incidences of foster carers not being fully informed of contact arrangements - such as which birth family members will be present - are also common, and both foster carer and fostered child are therefore unprepared for the meeting. Last minute adjustments or surprises can generate extreme anxiety for all parties and may damage the trust a fostered child has for their foster carer, which could ultimately jeopardise the placement.
More must be done to make contact a positive experience for foster carers, birth families and most importantly children and young people.
Better facilities must be put into place for when contact has to take place in a formal setting. High quality facilities that are suitable for families with children of all ages to meet in do exist, but there is a lack of consistency. These better facilities must be accompanied by a more flexible approach to where contact can take place (such as partaking in an activity like bowling or playing in the park).
Where the decision making rests
However, I think the single biggest change that could improve contact would be to bring the foster carer much more into the decision making about where and when contact should take place. We believe that the supervising social worker, who should know the fostering family well, should become responsible for the contact arrangements in place of the children’s social worker, thus preventing the situation where a foster carer with three children in placement has to be in three places at the same time.
Foster carers often know the children in their care better than anyone else in the team around the child. They also know their own schedule better than anyone and they are the members of the team who have to support the child through the consequences of poorly planned contact. Along with their supervising social worker, they should be trusted to fulfil the court’s requirements regarding contact in a way which is in the best interests of their fostered child(ren) and which works for the them and the birth family.
Moving the responsibility for the contact arrangements to the supervising social worker would also mean better support for the foster carer when it comes to contact. There could, if required, be better pre- and post-contact briefings allowing the foster carer to become more confident in helping to make contact the best it can be.
Ultimately, we must find a way to make contact work for everyone - better contact means better relationships and that’s crucial to children’s outcomes. We hope that the various reviews of fostering and the care system that are currently taking place across the UK will take a serious look at how to make this happen.
A huge congratulations to those who received their GCSE results today, especially TACT’s young people who have excelled.
CJ from Yorkshire achieved two A’s in English and Biology as well as nine B’s in his other subjects. He has been in his placement since 2013.
TB, a young girl who has been in a TACT placement since 2014, obtained eleven GSCEs in total, including B’s in Maths, Welsh, Welsh Bac and Business Skills. Her carers had provided additional tuition as it was important to TB to prove that young people in care can do well.
B’s carers were ecstatic with her GSCE results, which consisted of a B in Art and Design, as well as C’s in Maths, English, Science and Religious Studies. B has had 16 placements since being in care, but has been in her current home for three years.
J has an un-diagnosed learning disability and has attended a school for children with disabilities for the past 3 years whilst being in placement. He has achieved entry level grades in Maths, English, Science, Food Studies, ICT, and Religious Studies. J also achieved a GCSE in Art and Design, grade D. He was accepted into college and will be starting in September.
SW obtained a number of GCSEs, including D’s in Maths, English Language and Art and Design, as well as a C in Home Economics. She also gained an A in one of her Home Economics controlled assessments.
H, an unaccompanied asylum seeker, came to the UK in 2015. He got grade 1 for GCSE Maths, and although he is waiting for the rest of his results, he is staying on in sixth form to do Level 2 in Engineering.
These students are among the first to tackle the new GCSEs, with School Standards Minister Nick Gibb claiming that they will “improve opportunities and the life chances of millions of young people.”
Our TACT young people have proven that being in care does not make you less likely to succeed, but the love and support of a foster family will help you go above and beyond.
I’ve been involved in fostering for many years now. One of the debates I remember raging (and which still occasionally raises its head) is whether we should call the people who look after fostered children ‘foster carers’ or ‘foster parents’. I’m not talking about what fostered children and young people call their foster carers - this usually reflects the relationship that has been formed and can range from calling them their first names to mum and dad or foster mum and dad - but I am talking about the job title which reflects how foster carers are perceived by other professionals.
At The Fostering Network we prefer ‘foster carers’ because we think it’s important to send a clear message that looking after fostered children and young people is a task that goes beyond traditional parenting (and it takes into account that most fostered children have parents already - it’s just that, for one reason or another, they are not able to live with them). It’s not that foster carers don’t exercise all the parenting skills that birth parents might use, but fostering is much more than that. It’s also not that foster carers don’t offer love and security and stability that birth parents might offer, but fostering is also much more than that.
Foster carers are co-professionals within a team
Foster carers are child care experts who operate as co-professionals in the team which is responsible for fostered children and young people. They are trained, supervised and accountable like other professionals and, in many cases, know the children they are looking after better than any other professional.
Unfortunately, as our State of the Nation’s Foster Care survey of over 2,500 foster carers reinforced, foster carers are too often not treated as professionals meaning their expertise, opinions and knowledge are side-lined leading to frustration on the part of the foster carer and, very importantly, potentially poorer outcomes for the fostered young person. For the sake of the fostering system, the people who work within it and the children and young people who are being cared for by it, this must change.
All too often, fostering services do not have sufficient clear systems and processes in place regarding issues such as allegations, remuneration, whistleblowing or training. This means that foster carers are unclear as to what the due process should be when a certain situation arises, have little or no recourse to challenge the system and are often left in limbo. The default position in this situation, where processes do not exist or are ambiguous, is for communication with foster carers to dry up and for fostering services to simply stop using those foster carers. This would not happen to any other child care professional and should not happen to foster carers.
So, what can be done? There are so many areas in which change needs to happen, but here are just six to get the ball rolling:
Support - support for foster carers should be tailored to the individual needs of the child they are caring for and should be matched to the developmental stages of the child. All fostering services should provide a dedicated full-time support service for foster carers and ensure access to respite provision for all foster carers. Peer support opportunities should be enabled and promoted at a local level.
Training - a learning and development framework for foster carers should be implemented, covering accredited and standardised pre- and post-approval training. Within this framework there must be flexibility for training to be tailored to allow foster carers to meet the individual needs of children and promote their own personal development. It is also essential that knowledge of fostering is included in training for social workers to enable them to work more effectively with the primary carers of the vast majority of looked after children. Other professionals working with looked after children should also be given training to understand the role of foster carers.
Remuneration - governments should review the level of national minimum fostering allowances (and, in the case of Scotland introduce a minimum), with all fostering services being required to pay an allowance which meets or exceeds that minimum. The minimum allowance should also be extended to include post-18 care. All foster carers should be paid for their time and skills, preferably via a tiered payment scheme which includes retainer fees between placements. The administration of fee and allowance payments should be transparent, so that all foster carers are clear about their entitlement to allowances and fees.
Decision making - foster carers must be given the authority to make everyday decisions on behalf of children in their care without unnecessary delays and restrictions. Although this already exists in guidance in most of the UK, it is still not happening with sufficient regularity. Strengthened guidance needs to address the need for all other professionals - social care, education, health, police and so on - to understand and respect the role and responsibility of foster carers.
Allegations - a transparent framework should be in place for dealing with allegations, and ensuring adherence to timescales. Foster carers should be given the same HR, emotional and legal support that would be afforded their social work colleagues.
Whistleblowing - foster carers are in a vulnerable position if they choose to speak out about alleged wrongdoing or poor practice. We are concerned that this may act as a disincentive to foster carers, putting vulnerable children at risk. Whistleblowing legislation must be extended to included foster carers.
These things are very important if foster carers are to be treated as the co-professionals that they are. We hope the various reviews of fostering and the care system that are currently taking place across the UK will lead to change in all these areas. But unless they are also accompanied by a change in mindset from many of the other professionals with whom foster carers work then they are not, in themselves, going to bring about the change that is so desperately needed. Foster carers must be perceived, and subsequently treated, as an equal part of the child care team. Then their voice will be heard, benefiting them and ultimately the children in their care.
Each year at The CFT our regional offices run events to bring together our Foster Families and all of our children. It’s a brilliant opportunity to get together, catch up and make new friends.
This year our South Central carried on in true CFT style and held two very successful summer events!
On the 28th July, the young people from the region visited Woodmill Activity Centre in Southampton to complete a day of canoeing and kayaking. Keeping in tradition with the British Summertime, the weather was quite cold and rainy, so all the young people dressed up in lots of warm wetsuits and jackets. All the young people tried their hand at both canoeing and kayaking and despite the cold did well in managing the full 3 hours on the lake.
The canoeing and kayaking sessions gave all the young people time to get to know one another and work as a team, as well as developing their outdoor water sport skills. For some young people, this was their first opportunity to take part in this type of activity and everyone did brilliantly well.
The young people took part in canoe and kayak races, group games and everyone loved splashing each other and getting completely soaked. At the end of the session, some very brave young people even jumped into the lake.
We would like to give a special mention to Foster Carer Karen Gilbert who volunteered to help the staff team out for the day, helping to make the day a roaring success!
On the 17th August, our South CFT Families attended a Summer BBQ at Queen Elizabeth Country Park in Petersfield. At the start of the day the weather looked like it was going to disappoint, but by 12pm the sun was shining and the BBQ was lit. Everyone enjoyed the big outdoor space, exploring the forest, playing football and tackling the adventure trail.
After a burger or two, all the children and young people took part in a scavenger hunt and collected lots of items from around the park, including dandelions, acorns and pine cones. Everyone did well to find a lot of the items on their hunt and Chase age 6 was our successful winner, finding 19 of the 20 items on his list.
A big well done to Chase for being such an amazing little explorer and a huge thank you to everyone who attended our Summer Events!
In the last week of term, we’re continuing to celebrate our ‘Class of 2017,’ and we heard from one of our Foster Carers in the North East with another story of success.
School attendance for children and young people in care can often be lower than average, and it can be difficult to break the pattern of low attendance. At Team Fostering we often celebrate higher than average attendance figures for children in care, and this year makes no exception.
For the past year three children have been in placement with a Team Fostering carer, who we spoke to this week. When they first joined him and his family, their school attendance was poor, at around 50 – 60%. Approaching the end of their first school year in their foster home, we were delighted to hear that two of the children have achieved 100% attendance, with the third receiving just under 100%. This is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates the huge impact that the drive, resilience and immense support provided by Foster Carers can have on children in care.
The improvement in their attendance at school has had very positive impacts on other areas of their education, allowing them to catch up by 1 – 2 years. One of the children caught up with school by two full years and performed extremely well in the recent SATS, scoring just below 100.
This change in school attendance is a huge achievement for all three of the children, and the further influences of this result will be significant in the rest of their education and school lives. A huge well done to the children in placement, and huge thanks to the Team foster family for this brilliant accomplishment.
Agency-wide school attendance figures are usually published by Team later in the year, against the national LAC average. We will provide this update as soon as all results have been reviewed.
I am a foster carer and I write on behalf of fostering and adoption charity TACT (The Adolescent and Chidren’s Trust).
When I began fostering in 2009 I could not have imagined how it would change my life in so many ways.
It was in February 2011, after my marriage had ended, that I found myself on a TACT (The Adolescent and Children’s Trust) foster training course, seated next to a knowledgeable and cheerful single foster dad called Dave. We instantly got on and together we got through the course.
Not long after that I had to be re-assessed as a single foster carer, so I could continue caring for the young person with me. The process seemed daunting, so my TACT social worker suggested I contact a fellow carer, who was going through the same reassessment, for support. That carer turned out to be the very same Dave I had met on the course. We exchanged supportive emails and both successfully got through the assessment.
In October, I attended another TACT course and was very pleased to see Dave there as I had become fond of him. The following weekend we went on a date, and that was it, BAM!
The first three years of our relationship were part time as we lived 60 miles apart and had kids and foster children to consider. My fosterling moved on in April 2012 so I resigned from TACT to continue my job in a solicitors. I commuted three times a week to be with Dave when my children were at their dad’s. Dave still had his fosterlings, and at weekends and holidays we spent time as a large “family” and went to bonfire displays, days out and family parties. We had many challenges to face with the kids falling out, vying for attention, growing up, getting into scrapes and the odd personality clash, but we worked hard at getting through those times to do the best that we could for them. Our relationship just got stronger.
In October 2014, Dave, who had cancer several years before, was re-diagnosed. We were told it had spread to several parts of his body and to “enjoy the next 12 months”. Devastating news, but we were given hope with a drug trial that was available. We decided not to tell the children until after the treatment. Dave had been fostering the same children for 11 years, and knowing them so well, he felt they would find it difficult to cope, especially as we didn’t know ourselves what was going to happen.
Dave made a bucket list of things to do “just in case”. The first was for us to get married. We did it three weeks later in November, wearing jeans, with close family and friends, including our ‘Cilla Black’ TACT social worker who had brought us together. Our families pulled together to make sure the children were none the wiser about the illness.
Dave started treatment on 2 January 2015. By then, the older fosterling had moved on so we decided once treatment finished, Dave and his remaining foster child - 14 year old J, would move to Manchester so we could properly begin our married life, be a family and deal with whatever was coming together.
In March, a family member looked after J, while we struck off number two on the bucket list - a three-night honeymoon in Venice. Shortly after, his results came back and his tumours had shrunk and were almost undetectable. Happy days! We started our life together on a wonderfully positive note.
With the children now living under the same roof there were definitely problems and issues to iron out but we managed. By July, we had a new school for J, everyone was settled into a routine, and we got on with living life as a family. We had a holiday to Majorca in August, the first time J had been abroad and the first time we had all been away together. So again, there were challenges and clashes but nothing we couldn’t handle together.
Our first Christmas as a family came and went and life was good. However, in March 2016 our world came crashing down when Dave found another lump. For the next few months, Dave tried a new treatment which seemed to work, until more lumps appeared. It was a rollercoaster, but he never complained. He was such a committed step and foster dad, remaining strong so that the kids had no idea what he was going through.
In December, Dave’s eyesight started failing and just after Christmas we were told that the cancer had spread to his brain. We knew it was time to tell J and naturally he was devastated. Dave had been a father to him for 13 years since he was just two. We played the harsh reality down a little, but also tried to be realistic to prepare him for what would eventually happen.
Dave looked well during treatment, no-one would have known anything was wrong apart from him wearing an eye patch. He called himself Captain Dave Sparrow, still always being hopeful, still making us laugh.
In March 2017, Dave deteriorated suddenly and within 24 hours we were told nothing more could be done. I brought him home. Our two families came together and stayed at the house and between us all, we supported J, the kids and each other. We spoke about whether J wanted to be there when Dave passed, which he did, so we supported him during Dave’s final hours and because Dave’s sister is a nurse we had the medical answers to his questions. More than ever, J just needed to know he was safe, secure and supported.
Dave passed away peacefully with us all around him on 31 March. He was the most amazing man I have ever met. With regard to J, Dave dedicated every inch of his being to giving him the best of all his time, guidance, laughs and love and I am carrying on Dave’s legacy, to ensure that J grows into the fantastic man his foster dad was.
Children’s social care is being pushed to breaking point, with growing demand for support leading to 75 per cent of councils in England overspending on their children’s services budgets by more than half a billion pounds, council leaders warn.
New analysis by the Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, reveals that in 2015/16 councils surpassed their children’s social care budgets by £605 million in order to protect children at immediate risk of harm.
Councils have faced an unprecedented surge in demand for children’s social care support over recent years, which is showing little sign of abating. More than 170,000 children were subject to child protection enquiries in 2015/16, compared to 71,800 in 2005/06 – a 140 per cent increase in just 10 years.
The number of children on child protection plans increased by almost 24,000 over the same period, while ongoing cuts to local authority budgets are forcing many areas to make extremely difficult decisions about how to allocate increasingly scarce resources.
The LGA is warning that the pressures facing children’s services are rapidly becoming unsustainable, with a £2 billion funding gap expected by 2020. Unless urgent action is taken to reduce the number of families relying on the children’s social care system for support, this gap will continue to grow.
The huge financial pressures councils are under, coupled with the spike in demand for child protection support, mean that the limited money councils have available is increasingly being taken up with the provision of urgent help for children and families already at crisis point, leaving very little to invest in early intervention.
LGA analysis shows that government funding for the Early Intervention Grant has been cut by almost £500 million since 2013, and is projected to drop by a further £183 million by 2020 - representing a 40 per cent reduction by the end of the decade. Without this funding, councils have found it increasingly difficult to invest in the early help services that can prevent children entering the social care system, and help to manage needs within families to avoid them escalating.
The struggle faced by councils attempting to balance increased demand alongside reduced funding is perhaps most starkly illustrated by the closure of 365 children’s centres and 603 youth centres since 2012, as local authorities are forced to make difficult decisions about the way in which they deliver these services.
Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said:
“The fact that the majority of councils are recording high levels of children’s services overspend in their local areas shows the sheer scale of the funding crisis we face in children’s social care, both now and in the near future.
“Councils have done everything they can to respond to the growing financial crisis in children’s social care, including reducing costs where they can and finding new ways of working. However, they are at the point where there are very few savings left to find without having a real and lasting impact upon crucial services that many children and families across the country desperately rely on.
“With councils facing a £2 billion funding gap for children’s services in just three years’ time it is more important than ever that the Government prioritises spending in this area.
“There is no question that early intervention can help to limit the need for children to enter the social care system, lay the groundwork for improved performance at school and even help to ease future pressure on adult social care by reducing the pressure on services for vulnerable adults.
“However, cuts to the Early Intervention Grant have exacerbated a difficult situation where councils cannot afford to withdraw services for children in immediate need of protection to invest in early help instead.
“The reality is that services for the care and protection of vulnerable children are now, in many areas, being pushed to breaking point. Government must commit to the life chances of children and young people by acting urgently to address the growing funding gap.”
The children we take in have often had harrowing lives. We give them round-the-clock care under immense scrutiny – yet we have no workers’ rights
Wednesday saw a landmark ruling: a UK employment tribunal recognised two foster care workers as employees. The carers, Christine and James Johnstone, had sought the recognition of Glasgow city council as part of a dispute over wages.
What does that ruling mean for other foster care workers around Britain? Even though it is just the first step of a long journey, my immediate reaction was one of huge relief and justice: finally someone recognised that I do a job.
For 10 years I have been getting up each day and looking after teenagers who have faced severe challenges – often more than most of us will go through in an entire lifetime.
There are so many misconceptions around what we foster carers do: I am supposedly self-employed, but I can only work for my one employer; I have signed a document which sets out what I have to do and how much I will get paid, but I am told it is not a contract; I have regular supervision – a series of boxes are ticked to make sure I am following the strict rules; I have a chain of command set in stone; I have to follow the child’s care plan whether I like it or not, or whether or not I think it is good for the child; I can’t have another job, yet I can be dismissed on a whim with no notice by employers who act as judge, jury and executioner.
In any allegation made against us – be it by a child, birth parents or the authorities themselves – it seems that foster carers are considered guilty before proven innocent and treated with patronising disdain. The vast majority of allegations are proved to be unfounded. We are often the fall guys for bad practice and a lack of coherent policies. In sum, we are disposable workers.
In an ordinary week, I attend child reviews, high-risk strategy meetings and review personal education plans. I endlessly record things and write reports. I will often be up all night, waiting for the police to search my house when a young person has absconded. This is certainly not shift work. I have to go to training sessions and work on my continued professional development plan (this covers anything from child protection to attachment theory). I work closely with specialist agencies: child sexual exploitation, mental health, drugs and alcohol, asylum seeking and refugees, youth justice, police and more. I also have to be available to mentor other foster workers and help with recruitment for the local authority.
Contrary to the popular misconception that foster care workers are simply substitute parents, we are expected to work closely with the child’s own birth family, sometimes at significant risk to ourselves. We must always respect that we are not the child’s parents, while we care for, love, nurture and support the children staying with us.
Given the gruelling nature of the work, the intense pressure, and the frequent mistreatment, you truly have to be passionate about wanting to help children and young people to be a foster care worker.
Foster carers have long faced a climate of fear and our lack of rights has been normalised. That is why we unionised with the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain and why more carers are joining the Foster Care Workers Branch every day.
This attitude towards us starts at the top. In her inaugural speech as president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, Alison Michalska said they needed to be “polite but firm” with foster carers and dismiss what she called “slightly mad notions”. She questioned whether a “professionalised, specialist, unionised workforce would improve the outcomes for children”. Well, we are already that – and we are passionate and committed workers trying to drive up standards for our children despite the continual battle for recognition. It is a struggle that demoralises an already overstretched workforce, and comes at a time when the country is some 9,000 carers short.
What does the Glasgow ruling mean for the future of foster carers? The decision is not binding on other tribunals and Glasgow city council will probably appeal. Nevertheless, its value is monumental. Thousands of foster care workers will now question the nature of their relationship with the local authority or independent fostering agency, and they will say: “I work hard, I am strictly supervised, and I get paid for what I do – so why don’t I have any employment rights?”
The Johnstones’ case is a step towards greater justice. We don’t want the world for ourselves – we want that for our children – but we do want to be respected and recognised in law for what we are: workers.
• Sarah Anderson is chair of the IWGB Foster Care Workers Branch
Community Foster Care is a not-for-profit foster care agency which provides foster care placements for local children in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Swindon, Cumbria and Lancashire. We provide fostering services where children flourish and have the greatest opportunities to achieve their personal ambitions.
Community Family Care, our sister charity, provides community based family support services to the local community in Gloucestershire, including training, support and guidance to families. Enabling children and families to stay together is central to our mission, and our work is focused on supporting people to make the changes necessary to improve the lives of children.
Our CEO is retiring and we need someone who can carry on the good work and help drive the businesses forward. The work we do makes a difference to children’s lives and to the communities where they live and this is an exciting opportunity for an experienced practitioner with proven business acumen to join our child focused charities as we continue to grow and develop over the forthcoming years.
13th September Informal Chat for Longlisted Candidates
4th October Stakeholder Interviews
5th October Formal Interviews
Please note candidates will be expected to attend on all three dates
Find out more and download an application pack
Closing date for applications is 7th September.
Fostering News: Social worker recruitment and retention among biggest risks facing children’s services, say leaders
A new survey found social work leaders were also concerned about social work practice being 'variable'
Councils’ ability to recruit and retain high-quality social workers is one of the biggest risks to the future delivery of children’s services, senior leaders have said.
Managers and leaders in children’s services were concerned about recruiting and retaining staff over the next three years, according to a research study about the state of children’s services in England, backed by the Department for Education.
The survey of up to 91 local authorities in England also found a third worried about social worker practice “becoming or continuing to be variable”.
Senior leaders were asked to pick three main risks to children’s services over the next three years. The top three concerns were financial pressures (89%), and an inability to recruit (57%) and retain (51%) high quality social workers.
At the time the survey was carried out in September and October last year, 42% of authorities were ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ confident about having enough social workers to meet demand over the following 12 months.
“On balance, [local authorities] were confident about the short-term future of their social care workforce, but a notable minority did have some concerns over whether they would have sufficient staff in the future,” the report said.
The findings were from the first wave of research commissioned by the Department for Education designed to provide “a clear and up-to-date understanding of the key issues facing children’s services, and of local authorities’ implementation of policy related to children’s services”.
Children’s minister Robert Goodwill, said the government has introduced new legislation and plans that will “further strengthen protection for the most vulnerable children”.
“Councils increased spending on children’s social care to nearly £7 billion last year and we are empowering councils to develop new and better ways of delivering these services. Alongside this, we are supporting the recruitment and training of social workers so they have the skills they need for this important job, investing over £750 million in bursaries and training programmes,” Goodwill said.
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