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Agenda item

Looked After Children and Care Leavers Sufficiency Strategy 2019-2022

Report of the Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services

 

Recommendations:-

 

1.    That approval be given to the publication of the Looked After Children’s Sufficiency Strategy.

Minutes:

Consideration was given the report which detailed how the Looked After Children and Care Leavers Sufficiency Strategy had been developed in line with the duty to provide or procure placements for Children Looked After (CLA) by the Local Authority. 

 

The legislation and guidance included the Children Act 1989, Sufficiency Statutory Guidance 2010, Care Planning, Placement and Case Review Regulations 2011) and the duty of ‘sufficiency’ required Local Authorities and Children’s Trust partners to ensure that there was a range of sufficient placements which met the needs of children and young people in care.  There was also a responsibility to take steps to develop and shape service provision to meet the needs of all children and young people in care at a local level, as far as was reasonably possible.

 

The Strategy, therefore, set out how Rotherham Children and Young People’s Services would fulfil its role as a Corporate Parent and meet its statutory sufficiency duty by providing good quality care, effective parenting and support to children and young people in and leaving care. It described the principles that were applied when seeking to commission the provision of secure, safe and appropriate accommodation and support to children in care and care leavers over the next three years.

 

The LAC Sufficiency Strategy also provided the underpinning needs analysis that would inform market management work, seeking to ensure that there was the right mix of provision available to meet the needs of children and young people and that this provision mix provided positive outcomes and value for money.  There were no plans to destabilise children from settled placements, but this was about moving forward to keep more people in the borough and seeking the best placements for the children of this Borough.

 

There were also plans to explore opportunities for regional collaboration working arrangements and whilst this Strategy was not primarily a financial one, it was expected that the commissioning and strategic intentions set out would provide significant cost avoidance and savings opportunities and were essential to the sustainability of improved outcomes and the Local Authority budget.

 

Whilst this Strategy was intended to run for four years until 2021, the recent increase in number of Looked After Children, in Rotherham and across the region, had significantly altered the market conditions for placing Looked After Children in provision that would meet their needs and conform to the principles set out in the strategy.

 

Effective demand management and market management were key areas of focus for Children and Young People’s Services.  This work must be underpinned by a clear understanding of current sufficiency arrangements and there were a number of opportunities for various people to become foster carers as part of these arrangements.

 

 

Tribute was also paid to Christine Marie Lunn, one of Rotherham’s dedicated foster carers, who had fostered more than 250 children, being appointed MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

 

Christine started fostering children in Rotherham in 1975 with her late husband and had remained in contact with many who she had helped over the years.

 

This report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board as part of the pre-scrutiny process who were in support of the recommendations, subject to an update being provided to the Improving Lives Select Commission in January, 2020 on the implementation of the Strategy.

 

Resolved:-  That the publication of the Looked After Children’s Sufficiency Strategy be approved.

Supporting documents: