National Inspection of safeguarding and care planning of looked after children and care leavers who exhibit vulnerable or risky behaviours
Our inspection has identified that despite the hard work of staff too many looked after children feel dis-engaged from their own planning and review process.
Agencies need to work together more effectively as corporate parents if they are to deliver improved and ambitious outcomes for children in care.
The report that is being launched today at an event with Voices from Care and Cardiff University social work students, also identifies there needs to be a change of culture in how looked after children are perceived and supported by society.
The inspection work took place between January and May 2014 in all local authorities in Wales and included the views of 300 children (aged 11+) and care leavers who exhibit vulnerable or risky behaviours. The inspection also took into consideration the views of carers and professionals across both local authorities and partner agencies.
Chief Inspector of CSSIW, Imelda Richardson, said:
"This inspection focused on looking at some of the most vulnerable looked after children in Wales and how local authorities and partners plan their care.Staff are working very hard in responding to safeguarding concerns but there has to be a more joined up approach in delivering care plans across all organisations to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families.
The Social Services and Well Being (Wales) Act will transform the delivery of social care services in Wales. This report now provides an opportunity for the views and experiences of children looked after to inform and shape how the services and support they receive are delivered across Wales."
The report also found:
- suitable move on accommodation to enable them to achieve independence
The Fostering Network has welcomed the publication of a report by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) on the national inspection of safeguarding and care planning of looked after children and care leavers who exhibit vulnerable or risky behaviours.
In response to the report's publication, director of The Fostering Network Wales Emily Warren said: "The children in care in Wales deserve our communities and our wider society to be ambitious for them and supportive of them throughout their lives, and this must continue as they transition from care into independence. Collaborative working is vital to supporting young people, and with a holistic approach that involves all who work with young people, including their foster carers, then we will be in a position to help individuals into positive futures.
"Corporate parents, like all good parents, need to understand the individual in their care to help them discover what is best for them – but they can’t do it alone. The Fostering Network Wales sees the positive impact that inclusion of foster carers in care planning can have, and we would support this to be implemented as standard practice across the country.
"We ask the foster carers of Wales to do a monumental job for our community. They save our Government hundreds of thousands of pounds by using their experience and expertise to open their front doors to give those who need it most a safe and stable place to call home. Foster carers are truly the front line of support for young people and they both need, and deserve, to be provided with additional training where requested and needed to enable them to continue to do this work.
"Young people may be living in a stable home for the first time in their lives, and so we must strongly consider bringing those who live and work with children and young people on a day-to-day basis into care planning. With the provision of suitable training and support foster carers and fostering services can enable each young person to be prepared with the skills that could be the key to success in independence.
"We hope that wider collaborative work with corporate parents and others involved in caring for children will help towards encouraging more people to become foster carers and ensure that children and young people in care in Wales have the best possible opportunities to fulfil their potential."
You can view the full report on the CSSIW website.
We have now launched our Wraparound Therapeutic Placement Scheme in the North East.
As an agency we continue to see children and young people referred to us who have very complex needs, which can't be met with the support and training offered by other placement types. To meet this need we have developed the Wraparound placement scheme offering therapeutic parenting to the children and young people who may be at risk of being placed in a residential environment, have had several placement breakdowns or are unable to live alongside other children due to their complex needs.
We marked the launch with our Wraparound foster carers (pictured) and have seen many more foster carers come forward who are interested in offering this type of foster care. All foster carers who offer Wraparound have been approved to do so and have received specialist training to give them the confidence to manage the needs of the children and young people.
Wraparound is one of many specialist placement types we offer. More information about these placement types can be found on our Placement Types page.
St Christopher's held six colleague conferences in London, the West Midlands and the Isle of Man this month and feedback has been extremely positive. Colleagues told us they enjoyed meeting people from other teams and services from across the country.
The sessions run by members of the Senior Management Team were also welcomed. People heard about St Christopher's success in 2014 and learned what we can all expect in the coming year.
Awards were given out to individuals and teams who made a real difference to the lives of young people and their families, as well as those who have been working at St Christopher's for more than five years.
The conferences were also an opportunity for Ron Giddens, Director of Operations, to introduce social pedagogy, a new way of working with young people to encourage wellbeing, learning and growth. We hope this approach will boost the great work we do every day with our young people.
A thank you goes to Heather Barker, Chairman of our Council of Trustees, who introduced all the events and helped to celebrate colleagues during the awards ceremonies.
A unique opportunity has arisen to join the management team of the only Co-operative working in the Foster Care sector.
The position of Operational Manager is to oversee and develop the delivery of Foster Care in three defined areas in the Midlands and South West of England. The post holder would be managing a small number of senior social work staff, and experienced and new foster carers. There will be opportunities for the right candidate to be involved in the growth of service delivery in each region, including training and contracting.
Applicants must have experience in Foster Care delivery and supervisory experience and hold a Social Work Qualification.
The Foster Care Co-operative are a not for profit organisation, putting the needs of our children and carers first and look to appoint a manager who is as passionate about this as we are.
If you would like to have further information, including a full job description and application form, please contact Anne Bard, Director of Child Care or Barbara Bull, HR Advisor on 01684 892380.
Closing Date: 18th February, 2015
FCC is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children; applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening appropriate to the post, including checks with past employers and the Disclosures Barring Service clearance at enhanced level. CVs will not be accepted, all applicants must complete an application form.
The new children's commissioner for Wales has been named as Prof Sally Holland, an academic from Cardiff University who specialises in family and child welfare.
Welsh ministers said she is "internationally acclaimed" for her work representing children's views through her research.
Prof Holland said she was "delighted and honoured" to have got the job.
She replaces Keith Towler, who is stepping down after seven years.
Prof Holland, director of the Cascade children's social research centre at Cardiff University, said: "Children and young people face new opportunities and challenges in contemporary society.
"I will work with the children and young people of Wales to ensure that their rights are safeguarded and promoted."
FrustrationCommunities Minister Lesley Griffiths said she was confident her "range of experience in social work and children's rights, and her proven commitment to empowering children and young people" would make her a "strong ambassador on their behalf".
Prof Holland is a campaigner for a ban on smacking children and a member of the pressure group Academics for Equal Protection.
The academic will earn between £90,000 and £95,000 a year when she takes up the post in April.
Mr Towler has spoken of his frustration at the delay in naming his successor, claiming the selection process was "less than perfect", and the short handover period was "not great".
The Fostering Network Wales and the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) would like to welcome Professor Sally Holland as she begins her role as the new Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
Emily Warren, director of The Fostering Network Wales, said: “Children and young people in care deserve the very best support, and we are confident that Professor Sally Holland will be ambitious for them. We look forward to working collaboratively with Sally as we continue to push towards securing more positive futures for our children and young people in Wales.
“We would like to also thank Keith Towler for his work with children and young people in care during his tenure as Children’s Commissioner for Wales, and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Wendy Keidan, Director of BAAF Cymru, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Professor Sally Holland has been appointed as the new Children’s Commissioner for Wales. Sally is dedicated to improving the lives of children and young people living in Wales and in the past she has brought her expertise to a number of BAAF Cymru projects. We are sure Sally can make a real difference in this role, and look forward to working closely together in the future.”
Today we held the first training session of 2015 for the family members and friends of our Foster Carers. The course aims to provide insightful knowledge, skills and the abilities to assist the full-time Foster Carers and the opportunity to think about how Foster Care will have an impact on their lives.
Some of the topics covered in the session included:
• What do Foster Carers do?
• Some of the anxieties and fears that the children may have
• Confidentiality – who needs to know what?
• The types of child abuse
• How to respond to any disclosures a child might make
• The risks that may occur from different situations
• Safer caring practices
• Behaviours – what can be done to promote good behaviour / discourage poor behaviour
If you are one of our Foster Carers and think this course may benefit some of your family and friends, please contact your social worker to find out more information. Or if you are interested in becoming a foster carer, and would like to attend please get in touch.
We are delighted to announce that TACT has received a £987.54 donation from the money-saving website, My Favourite Voucher Codes.
My Favourite Voucher Codes donates 20% of its net profit to a different charity each month, which is chosen by the site’s visitors in an online poll. TACT was the winner of the October poll and our donation is one the largest ever to be gifted to a charity by the site.
As a fostering and adoption charity, this money will allow us to provide more support and hold more activities for the children and young people in our care. For example, last year we held a Big Weekend which was an opportunity for young people across the UK in TACT’s care to come together and take part in a range of adrenaline-fuelled activities.
Thank you to all who helped make this donation happen, from the staff at My Favourite Voucher Codes to everyone who nominated and voted for TACT.
If you’d like to support the work of TACT you can find out more about our fundraising activities
The new chief executive of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering on the serious issues affecting the sector.
Have you been watching Call the Midwife? Fortunately, in the children’s social care sector, we’ve come a long way from the mother and baby homes and orphanages of the 1950s.
Since the 1980s, the changes to the care system have centred on the concept of permanency. Permanency recognises the fundamental importance parents and a family life can play in a child’s development. Wherever it is decided that a child cannot live with their birth parents, it becomes a priority to establish an alternative family life, either with other birth family members or stranger carers. The legal order to support this is dependent on the specific circumstances of the child, but there are now many possibilities, including adoption, special guardianship and permanent foster care.
The principles of permanency planning are challenging to implement and in some respects controversial. There have been recent positive changes that focus on reducing delay, opening the criteria to prospective carers, to include, for example, gay couples, and the recognition that carers need ongoing support. We must remain focused on difficult to place children: sibling groups, children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and older children, particularly adolescents. It is also imperative that we do not ignore the significance of the life-long issues – such as the role of birth parents and birth family in the longer term.
These issues are core to the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF). Its history is marked by its engagement in leading and forming current policy and practice framework for looked-after children. As the new chief executive of BAAF, I feel humbled to join an organisation that has been responsible for improving so many young people’s lives.
Although we are proud of the progress the sector has made over the years, there are a number of serious issues that need to be addressed – both those that are the responsibility of the current coalition government and, after May 2015, the new government. These include the challenges to adoption, the revised framework for long-term foster care, the further development of special guardianship and the provision of effective support including financial help for carers.
There are real threats in all of this: cuts to local authority budgets; the challenge of recent court judgments in adoption; the adequacy of the current policy and legislation for special guardianship. There are also serious questions about the identification of child sexual exploitation, as demonstrated in Rotherham. The future development of the workforce remains core. It is critical that we continue to build on sector expertise and successes but we also need to find positive, child-centred responses to these issues.
At BAAF, we’ve just published our strategic plan, which sets our four key aims. These include championing the importance for children of establishing a “family for life” and continuing to influence, lead and collaborate on child placement issues. Over the coming year we will be developing a range of placement options, reinforcing fostering as a major part of BAAF and further incorporating the voices of children and young people into our work.
Why not join our social care community? Becoming a member of the Guardian Social Care Network means you get sent weekly email updates on policy and best practice in the sector, as well as exclusive offers. You can sign up – for free –online here.
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