Issue - meetings

Looked After Children Reduction Case for Change

Meeting: 03/09/2019 - Dorset Council - Cabinet (Item 44)

44 Looked After Children Reduction Case for Change pdf icon PDF 179 KB

To consider a report by the Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Early Help.

Decision:

Decision

 

(i)         That the Executive Director for People (Children) will develop a strategy and detailed roadmap to reduce the number of children in care, taking a rights-based approach, which develops services to support children to be able to grow up in a family setting.

 

(ii)        That a further report be present to Cabinet in December 2019.

 

Reason for the Decision: The reduction of the number of children in care in Dorset would:-

 

1.    Promote the rights of children

2.    Improve the outcomes for children

3.    Enable services to be sustainable

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report which reviewed current research on the rise in numbers of looked after children in England and Wales.   There were several reasons why it was important to have a strategy that would focus on the need to reduce the size of the population of children in care in the Dorset area.

 

The Executive Director for People (Children) stated that it was important to safe guard risk and look at ways in that the organisation currently worked with young people, to review the whole system including schools, health partners and neighbouring authorities. In response to questions, the Executive Director for People (Children) confirmed that the timeframe for change would take time to achieve, however there would be significant impact and notable changes in costs involved and outcomes for the young people in care.

 

The Cabinet welcomed the report and its recommendations. It was acknowledged that this was a substantial and complex piece of work that would not be completed quickly. However the benefits of a long-term strategy would support the future provision of care and prevention in order to improve the outcomes for looked after children across the Dorset Council area.

 

Members were also advised that a further report would be brought to Cabinet at its meeting in December.

 

Decision

 

(i)         That the Executive Director for People (Children) will develop a strategy and detailed roadmap to reduce the number of children in care, taking a rights-based approach, which develops services to support children to be able to grow up in a family setting.

 

(ii)        That a further report be present to Cabinet in December 2019.

 

Reason for the Decision: The reduction of the number of children in care in Dorset would:-

 

1.    Promote the rights of children

2.    Improve the outcomes for children

3.    Enable services to be sustainable

 


Meeting: 30/07/2019 - Dorset Council - Cabinet (Item 31)

31 Looked After Children Reduction Case for Change pdf icon PDF 179 KB

To consider a report by the Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Early Help.

Decision:

Decision

 

(1)       That the Executive Director of People – Children be asked to develop a strategy and detailed roadmap to reduce the number of children in care, taking a rights-based approach, to develop services which support children to be able to grow up in a family setting

 

(2)       That this be presented to Cabinet in September 2019.

 

Reason for decision: The reduction of the number of children in care in Dorset would:

 

1.    Promote the rights of children

2.    Improve the outcomes for children

3.    Enable services to be sustainable

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Early Help regarding current research on the rise in numbers of looked after children in England and Wales.  This noted differential rates of increase between local authorities within the two countries and considered the possible reasons for this.  It also reviewed emerging evidence about strategies to reduce the number of looked after children and indicated some potential components of such a strategy in Dorset.  It was noted that there were currently 445 looked after children in Dorset and it was proposed that a strategy be developed to not only reduce the number of children entering care but also reduce high cost placements.  The Cabinet Member set out his expectations that this would be bold and place the child at the centre.

 

Cllr Coombs, the Chairman of the Corporate Parenting Board, welcomed the report.  She emphasised the importance of breaking the cycle of need through early intervention, the need for every child to have an up to date care plan and reduction of the number of unregulated placements.  She pointed out that 42 of Dorset’s looked after children were placed out of county and referred to the need for investment in The Cherries, the residential home for children in Weymouth. 

 

The Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Early Help welcomed the comments made by the Chairman of the Corporate Parenting Board. He agreed that there was a need for investment in The Cherries and for greater in-county provision which was fit for purpose. 

 

One of the Members for the Portland Ward, Cllr Kimber, echoed the comments made in relation to the need for refurbishment of The Cherries.

 

Decisions

 

1.   That the Executive Director of People – Children develop a strategy and detailed roadmap to reduce the number of children in care, taking a rights-based approach, to develop services which support children to be able to grow up in a family setting.

 

2.   That this be presented to Cabinet in September 2019.

 

Reasons for Decisions

 

The reduction of the number of children in care in Dorset would:

1.   Promote the rights of children;

2.   Improve the outcomes for children; and

3.   Enable services to be sustainable.