Agenda item

Looked After Children and Care Leavers Strategy

(To receive a report from Andrew Morris, Corporate Parenting Manager, which invites the Committee to consider a report on the Looked After Children and Care Leavers Strategy, which is due to be considered by the Executive on 3 July 2018)


Consideration was given to a report from Andrew Morris, Corporate Parenting Manager, which invited the Committee to comment on the Looked After Children and Care Leavers Strategy 2018 – 2021, prior to being considered by the Executive on 3 July 2018.


The Assistant Director, Safeguarding presented the report and highlighted that Lincolnshire County Council had a responsibility to the children it looked after and its care leavers.  And that following a change in legislation, which had come into effect from the 1 April 2018, the Councils duty had widened, as it now had a duty to provide support to all care leavers up to the age of 25, if they wanted support.


Appended to the report was a copy of the Lincolnshire Looked After Children and Care Leavers Strategy 2018 – 2021 for the Committee's consideration.


The Committee was advised that in order to achieve the desired outcomes for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, the strategy had been developed to contain a number of guiding principles, which had been developed locally and these were shown on page 45 of the report. 


The strategy also set out Lincolnshire County Council's seven key priorities to continually improve on, over the next three years.  These were shown on pages 45/46 of the report presented.


The Committee was advised that the strategy was a key document for the Council and its partner organisations. The Committee was advised further that the strategy had been developed in consultation with many key groups, elected members and young people.


During consideration of the strategy, the Committee raised the following comments:-


·         It was queried whether all seven district councils had signed up to the strategy.  It was confirmed that all the district councils had now signed up to it, in principle;

·         Concerns were raised about children in need and how this group of children could be supported further. It was reported that schools, through Team Around the Child, were increasingly confident about supporting families.  In relation to mental health issues, there was Healthy Minds, CAMHS and the Emotional and Wellbeing Service that children in need could be referred to. It was highlighted that services had been designed to provide wraparound support to schools to support families.  However, it was highlighted that children in need were not tracked as a group separately, for outcomes or exclusions.  This was due to the fact that they were a constantly changing cohort;

·         In relation to "Staying Put" for foster children, it was queried whether anything similar could be done to support children more in residential homes.  It was reported that there was "Staying Close", which was a scheme to support young people transitioning from a residential home into provision in the community post 18.  In these cases the residential home would continue to provide support to the young people after they had moved out into new accommodation.  It was highlighted that any pressure that could be put on district councils in relation to housing placements for care leavers would be useful.  Councillor Mrs W Bowkett highlighted that she was on a housing delivery group with district councils and would raise the matter at the next meeting;

·         It was queried what support could be given to foster carers when a placement broke down.  It was reported that a project from the United States called "Mockingbird" was being looked into and the Fostering Network had signed up to it.  The project was about foster carers providing peer support to other foster carers;

·         It was questioned how a relationship between a young person and a social worker was addressed if it was not working.  It was noted that the relationship with social workers was critical and the social worker would be changed if needed.  However, care was taken if parents requested a change in the social worker with regards to the rationale for requesting the change; and

·         In relation to the extension of support to care leavers to the age of 25, it was queried what had been done to communicate this to care leavers and encourage them to take up the offer.  Officers reported that they were in the process of contacting as many as possible of the retrospective 21-25 year olds, but some were proving difficult to track down.




That the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee unanimously supported the recommendation as detailed in the Executive report and requested that the Executive consider the comments as detailed above before making a decision on 3 July 2018.

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