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Www.hertsdirect.org Scrutiny: Fostering and the Fostering Strategy 23 rd June 2011.

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www.hertsdirect .org Scrutiny: Fostering and the Fostering Strategy 23 rd June 2011
Transcript
Slide 123rd June 2011
Corporate Parenting
www.hertsdirect.org
Children Looked After in Hertfordshire
Children in the care of the local authority are one of the most vulnerable groups in society
1099 children looked after in Hertfordshire (March 2011). Number increased significantly in 2009 and early 2010
Children Looked After Strategy aims to reduce the number of CLA and reduce the costs of placements
Fostering service has a key role in achieving the objectives of the CLA Strategy.
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Fostering
Foster carers play a valuable role in meeting the needs of children who are looked after.
778 children (70%) are placed with foster carers (86% of children aged 10-16)
Mixed-economy of provision to meet sufficiency duty (currently 84% in-house and 16% independent)
Different types of foster care:
Mainstream / Specialist (514 children, 429 carers)
Family & Friends (142 children, 127 carers)
Independent Fostering Agency (122 children)
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Recruiting new foster carers
Undertaking the assessment and approval processes for new foster carers
Working with the Central Placement Service to review requests for placements, match children and carers, and establish successful placements.
Provide ongoing supervision and support to foster carers
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Priorities for the Fostering Service
Increase capacity, in order to reduce the need for out-of-county residential and IFA placements
Chart4
In-house
In-house
2009/10
2010/11
2011/12
2012/13
2013/14
Target
Actual
Target
Actual
Target
Target
Target
Sheet2
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Children and Young People Act 2008
Reduction in the number of in-house foster carers
Increasing numbers of CLA
CYPP Priority 2
‘Children and young people achieve their potential whilst in and moving on from care’
Children Looked After have a choice of placements
Five year “invest to save” scheme to improve in house foster care provision in Hertfordshire
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Objectives
Increase the proportion of CLA placed in in-house foster care from 47.4% to 50.4%
Expand family and friends placements from 10.8% to 19.4%
Reduce the proportion of Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) placements from 13.3% to 4.7%.
Reduce the cost of CLA placements overall
Savings of £2.285 million by 2013/2014
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 Baseline: 79
Actual March 2011
507
514
115
142
142
122
0.664
0.151
0.186
0.668
0.183
0.157
0.676
0.26
0.063
Sheet1
2009/10
2010/11
2011/12
2012/13
2013/14
Target
Actual
Target
Actual
Target
Target
Target
514
507
142
115
122
142
Sheet2
3. Financial Savings
1,830 additional placement weeks – equivalent to 41 whole time placements (and a larger number of children)
Savings of £565,000
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Jackie Albery – Finance Manager
In-house foster care
Fees and allowances – average of £328 per week for mainstream carers and up to £600 per week for specialist foster carers. (Linked to Fostering Network recommended rate)
Unit cost of in-house placements (including) overheads - £403
Benchmarking data indicates that Hertfordshire has lower unit costs
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Benchmarking
2010
Hertfordshire
Independent Foster Placements
Independent provision only chosen where no in-house placement is available (e.g. for children with complex behaviours)
Eastern Region 5 group
Cost and volume discounts. Fixed price for 3 years.
Contract extended for 12 months with a further 2% reduction for half of providers. Others have stayed at 2008 prices
Ofsted Announced inspection found that “changes in council commissioning practices have improved the quality and choice of independent placements while ensuring value for money”
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www.hertsdirect.org
Recruitment
Aim to develop a range of placements in order to achieve placement choice and maximise the opportunity to make local, well matched, stable placements
Dedicated Recruitment Team launched in June 2009:
Generate more enquiries
Raise the profile of fostering – publicity and calendar of events
Oversee all initial training
Informed by the profile of our children looked after population
Monitoring of source of enquiries
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Recruitment and retention
Foster carers becoming younger – average age 50, compared to 53 elsewhere
More same-sex couples
IFA carers transferring to Hertfordshire. 5 transferred in 2010/11 with 5 Hertfordshire children.
On average, foster carers remain with Hertfordshire for 9 years. Most likely to leave within the first 18 months.
De-registrations are carefully monitored, e.g. through exit surveys
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Enquiries, Visits, Approvals and Training
Number of enquiries has increased year on year. 812 in 2010/11 – increase of 283 from 2008/09. Response within 24 hours.
1 in 4 enquiries lead to an initial visit. Visit made within 10 working days.
1 in 13 enquiries leads to an approval.
More efficient process – carers booked onto panels at earlier stage; additional panels where required.
Initial training for foster carers co-ordinated centrally by Recruitment Team – able to respond to increased demand and fast-track carers for hard-to-place children.
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www.hertsdirect.org
Good
Outstanding
Good
Good
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Recommendations and Actions
Ensure that foster care agreements include the amount of support and training to be provided
All agreements have been completed and updated in line with the new National Minimum Standards 2011
Ensure that all foster carers undertake first aid training
First aid training is now part of Core Training Programme. Provided in-house or financed externally due to demand
Ensure that children are only placed with carers whose terms of approval are consistent with the placement
Where possible, foster carers are approved for 0-18, with an appropriate age range
Ensure that employment records contain a full employment history
All employment records for staff and carers are completed, and gaps are explained
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We are currently getting ‘inspection ready’ – e.g. self-assessment audits against new National Minimum Standards
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National Minimum Standards
NMS, together with regulations, provide basis for the conduct of fostering services
Standards are taken into account by Ofsted for inspection of fostering services.
Focus on delivering outcomes for children – qualitative but measurable
12 Child-focused standards – e.g. child’s wishes and feelings; safeguarding; health and wellbeing; educational attainment
19 Standards for Fostering Services – e.g recruitment and assessment, matching child with placement; placement planning and review; learning and development
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Positive judgements:
CLA health team contributes well to training sessions for foster carers
Good quality commissioning and procurement processes
Targeted work has been effective in increasing the number approved local foster carer placements
Strategies in place to recruit foster carers from minority ethnic communities and have been effective in increasing culturally and racially appropriate placements
Positive action to build local capacity – resulted in more children with complex needs returning from out of county placements
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Transition arrangements for care leavers are variable – some care leavers expressed concern at having to leave their foster homes too soon
Young people report a lack of choice in placement provision and in some cases inconsistency of care
Quality of support provided to unaccompanied minors is variable. Some feel that their specific needs are not understood by foster carers.
Amended Staying Put policy and provided training
A 14+ checklist has recently been launched and workshops held.
CLA are invited to Fostering Forum, and care leavers are involved in Skills to Foster training
Recruitment of in house carers specifically for unaccompanied minors
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www.hertsdirect.org
Support
Carers are provided with comprehensive support package. Good support leads to positive placements for children and improves retention of carers
Supervising social worker provided monthly professional supervision – to explore placement issues, identify learning, and ensure children’s needs are being met
Membership of Fostering Network
Foster carer support groups – including buddies for newly approved carers
Specialist foster carers – support from the ARC and Datchworth turn and are supported by a team of therapists
Quarterly Fostering Forum – carers and senior management
Emergency Duty Team - 24 hour support
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Core training – Attachment; Safeguarding; Recording; Safe Caring; First Aid; Behaviour Management
Children’s Workforce Development Council workbook
Access to HCC Learning and Development programme
Fostering teams provide bespoke training courses (including TCI Therapeutic intervention on behaviour management and Webster Stratton positive parenting)
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111 responses – over 20%
Overall Satisfaction
Large majority say support they receive is excellent (30%) or good (54%)
Some small differences between different groups. Satisfaction highest among foster carers who:
Are aged over 60
Comparison with results of national Fostering Network survey (2009) indicate that satisfaction is higher in Hertfordshire than elsewhere.
% ‘Excellent’
% ‘Good’
Herts
National
Herts
National
Almost all respondents identified things that they liked.
It is so rewarding watching a child or young person blossom in your care. You can make such a difference to them
We love to see the child grow in confidence and do well at school and enjoy life in a safe secure environment
It’s challenging and varied - no two days are the same
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Dislikes
Contact with birth parents (14 foster carers)
Contact makes it difficult when having to continually meet angry and upset parents
The children seem to be disrupted during these times
Poor communication (13)
The frustrations that often come from lack of communication and last minute changes
“Not always knowing what is going on and not being able to answer questions the children have asked
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Feeling undervalued (10)
Sometimes I feel that my views are not taken into account regarding the child
We do all the hard work and the social workers take all the credit
Paperwork and bureaucracy (10)
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Involving children and young people
Children in Care Council – e.g. discussion of what makes a good foster carer
Young people involved in recruitment of foster carers as part of preparation training
Viewpoint Interactive
The Pledge – Taking part in decisions
Placement Surgeries
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What is Corporate Parenting?
Responsibility of local authorities to improve outcomes and actively promote the life chances of children they look after
Shared by the whole local authority in partnership with partner agencies
Act as the best possible parent for each child they look after and to take action by speaking out on their behalf, arranging for appropriate services to meet their needs, standing up for them and representing them Sixth line of text
When they are elected, all councillors take on the role of ‘corporate parents’ - duty to take an interest in the wellbeing and development of those children, as if they were their own children
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Announced Inspection
Corporate parenting was identified as an ‘area for development’, including in the role played by members.
Jan 2011 – Briefing for Members on Corporate parenting roles and responsibilities
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Regular meetings with lead member for children’s services
Reports to Corporate Parenting Panel
Performance reporting
Conclusions and next steps
Objectives of the Fostering Strategy have been met in first 2 years - financial savings exceeded
Focus going forward:
Continue positive progress – meet and exceed targets
Targeting our resources effectively to provide good support to foster carers
Improving outcomes for children and young people – narrowing the gap and helping to achieve potential
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Shortage of carers for priority groups – e.g.
Recruitment of specialist carers
Achieving future savings targets
Ensuring the Service and Strategy continue to be well linked to the wider agenda for children looked after
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www.hertsdirect.org
Importance for and satisfaction of foster carers of different types of support:
Average scores (4 = very important/excellent and 1 = not important/poor)
1
2
3
4
Supervising
Social
Worker
507
514
115
142142
122
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50%
60%
70%
80%

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