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Venue: Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Llangefni. View directions
Contact: Ann Holmes
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declaration of interest by any Member or Officer in respect of any item of business.
No declaration of interest was received.
To present the minutes of the previous meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel held on 10 December, 2018.
The minutes of the previous meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel held on 10th December, 2018, were presented and were confirmed as correct.
· Draft Fostering Recruitment and Retention Strategy (see item 5 below)
· Head of Service (Intensive Intervention Service) to update the Panel on the position with regard to funding the joint initiative with Voices from Care Cymru to co-produce an Ynys Môn Looked After Children and Care Leavers Strategy.
• Voices From Care Cymru
The Service Manager (Children’s Services) said that he had reported to the Panel’s previous meeting on a proposed joint initiative with Voices from Care Cymru – one of the leading voluntary agencies in Wales for working with looked after children – to set up a monthly participation group for care experienced children and young people to help co-produce an Ynys Môn Looked After Children and Care Leavers’ Strategy. The project in which Voices from Care Cymru would offer advice and support on participation and corporate parenting, would run for a minimum of twelve months at a cost £16,500 per annum and would also have a legacy value in terms of establishing the means by which the Authority’s looked after children and young people can continue to have a voice beyond the lifetime of the project, and also in ensuring that their participation is meaningful and has a tangible outcome in the form of a Looked After Children an Care Leavers Strategy for Ynys Môn which they would help produce. The Officer said that he had approached the Service’s partners both internally and externally to find out whether they would be able to contribute to the cost of the project and that hitherto the Council’s Education and Housing Services had confirmed their readiness to make such a contribution. The Office of the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner had confirmed by letter that it was unable to contribute citing that to do so would set a precedent for contributing to projects by other North Wales authorities and also because it was developing its own process for engaging with children and young people across North Wales. Similarly, the project does not meet the criteria for funding from the Isle of Anglesey Charitable Trust nor the Anglesey Further Education Trust (David Hughes Charitable Estate). The Service Manager said that discussions with Voices from Care Cymru have moved on and that an officer from the organisation will be in Anglesey in the next few weeks as part of a Laming Visit.
Liz Fletcher, BCUHB said that whilst she agreed with the project in principle, she would have to establish with the Board’s Finance Department whether funding is available to enable a contribution to be made.
The Panel in noting the report back by the Service Manager noted also that under the proceeds of crime legislation, the Police receive a percentage of the monies confiscated which can be put to community use across the North Wales local authority areas. It was suggested that it might be beneficial to make further enquiries about proceeds of crime money as a potential avenue of funding for the Voices from Care project.
ACTION AGREED: Enquiries to be made with North Wales Police as to whether a contribution towards the Voices from Care project can be made from proceeds of crime monies.
• CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE (CAMHS)
Liz Fletcher, BCUHB confirmed that having responsibility for all of children’s health across Gwynedd and ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
To receive a report from the VFCC Conference held in Llanrwst on 26 February, 2019.
A report from the Voices from Care Cymru Conference held in Llanrwst on 26 February, 2019 was presented for the Panel’s consideration.
The Head of Children and Families’ Services reported that the occasion above was the first ever VFCC Conference to be held in the North and that Anglesey was well represented at the conference with four girls between the ages of 6 and 14 along with three foster parents and three corporate parents attending the event. Highlights included a talk by a young man who had been a child in care who recounted his experiences of care and of moving from one foster placement to another. Morning and afternoon workshops were staged on themes ranging from corporate parenting and young people’s experiences of being a child in care within communities in Wales to literature’s role in turning negative experiences into positive ones. An interactive animal show was also held which proved popular. The Officer said that the conference provided an opportunity for children and young people who are looked after to meet and share experiences. The Authority will endeavour to ensure that a member(s) of the Corporate Parenting Panel can attend next year’s event.
The Panel noted the information presented and although it welcomed the opportunity which the conference and other similar events can provide for members of the Panel to meet with children and young people who are looked after, it noted that attending organised events such as this should not be the only way in which Members engage with them. The Panel emphasised that it would like to receive feedback from the children and young people themselves about what does and doesn’t work well for them including at events like this and for the children/young people to be able to express their views using the medium of their choice.
The Head of Children and Families’ Services said that part of the project brief for Voices From Care Cymru is to improve participation by looked after children and young people and to strengthen the link between the Authority and Elected Members and the children and young people they look after.
NO ADDITIONAL ACTION WAS PROPOSED.
Draft Fostering Recruitment and Retention Strategy
To receive a powerpoint presentation regarding the above.
Keith Walters, Child Placement Team Practice Leader provided the Panel with a Powerpoint presentation on recruiting and retaining Foster Carers with specific reference to how the Foster Carers’ Recruitment and Retention Strategy would be implemented.
The Child Placement Team Leader reported that a SWOT analysis of the Authority’s Fostering Service has shown that the Service is currently well placed being fully up to strength and having a mix of experienced and new Social Workers. As a Local Authority Fostering Agency, the Service is fortunate in having strong links with its own Children’s Team Social Workers. The Officer said that the Service must make the opportunities available to it specifically, the support provided by the Council to fund a New Offer to attract Foster Carers which provides an enhanced package of benefits for the Authority’s Foster Carers - a 50% discount on Council Tax; free parking at Council car parks, free Council leisure centre membership and a 10% increase in fostering allowances. However, the Service will need to ensure that it is able to meet the demand of assessments.
The Service has developed a Fostering Recruitment and Retention Strategy the objectives of which are to recruit more foster carers, to provide better support for foster carers and to also get better at preventative work. To achieve these aims the Strategy will –
• Make sure that Fostering is in the news. Events such as the Fostering Fortnight, the wider distribution of the IoACC Fostering Newsletter to doctors surgeries and dentists as well as to all Foster Carers and ensuring that Foster Carers attend high profile events will raise people’s awareness of fostering and get them talking about it.
• Tell everyone about the Authority’s New Offer. Assuming that people will know about it is not good enough. Whilst social media are an increasingly effective way of gaining publicity and disseminating information, word of mouth remains the most powerful mode of marketing.
• Improve the support provided for Foster Carers by -
• increasing the frequency of supervision and support visits;
• continuing to facilitate regular formal and informal gatherings of Foster Carers through the Fostering Forum (formal) and tea and cake sessions (informal);
• greater involvement of Foster Carers in the Star Awards;
• a mentoring scheme also known as the “Buddy-Buddy system;”
• developing a clearer Training Programme;
• developing a Men who Foster Group
• developing a Connected Persons Support Group
• Strengthen preventative work through intensive intervention training and team meetings; early participation at Family Group meetings and considering alternatives to Fostering e. g. Special Guardianship Orders.
The Head of Children and Families’ Services said that the Service has a better understanding of where it is at and based on that understanding, it is getting better at planning ahead instead of making plans on the hoof, e.g. anticipating the placement needs of children and seeing how those can be met by future fostering provision.
The Panel considered the information presented and made points as follows –
• The ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To present the report of the Independent Reviewing Officers.
The report of the Independent Reviewing Officers (Safeguarding and Quality Unit) was presented for the Panel’s consideration. The report provided an update on the progress against the five improvement objectives which were identified following the IRO’s appraisal in March, 2018 of the Authority as a corporate parent.
The Independent Reviewing Officer reported that based on the evidence examined including monthly audits of cases, sampling specifically for the purpose of the report; the Reviewing Officers’ experience of current practice; practitioners’ and children’s feedback and the thematic audit of 60 care and support plans for looked after children it can be concluded that further work is needed to improve the arrangements for planning for care and support of looked after children. The Officer highlighted the main points as follows –
• With regard to the quality of assessments for looked after children and the need to keep them up to date, whilst there are examples of assessments being updated and examples of good care and support plans, this needs to be applied consistently across practice.
• With regard to the provision of care and support plans for every child which focus on desired outcomes, interventions to meet those outcomes, clear responsibilities and timescales, there is a variety in the quality of different plans. There is a need to review whether the Part 6 Care and Support document is fit for purpose. The Part 6 document does not convey what has happened to the child since the last review.
• With regard to reviewing implementation and the difference made, a significant improvement is noted in the number of reports presented in advance of LAC Review Meetings; from a sample of 26 reviews, reports were presented for 24 (92.3%).However an issue was identified with updating documents with one IRO being of the view that many of the Part 6 documents had not been updated although the sample used for the report did not reflect this.
• There has been a deterioration in reports received from private fostering agencies for reviews; likewise the schools’ reports for reviews are also inconsistent with some schools contributing reports regularly and others infrequently. A meeting with the Education Service has been scheduled to discuss this issue.
• With regard to the quality and consistency of case recording, as in the previous report to the Panel all the 10 cases that were sampled for this report had up to date case recordings. It is positive that this improvement has been sustained.
• With regard to acute focus on permanency planning for LAC to reduce the number of children being looked after, the IROs now attend permanency planning meeting and are able to express their views on the plans submitted. IROs also attend monthly meetings with the Service Manager to scrutinise foster placements.
• The Unit has reported to the Service the need to protect consistency in social workers for Looked After Children. Some children report numerous changes.
• The IROs believe that Pathway Plans (post-16) are not regularly updated; this ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To note that the Panel’s next meeting will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, 10 June, 2019.
Monday, 10 June, 2019 at 2:00 p.m.