Agency Report Quarter 2 Fostering 1 June – 30 September 2018
To consider a report outlining the activity in the Fostering Agency during Quarter 2.
The Panel considered a report outlining the activity in the Fostering Agency during Quarter 2.
Points and comments included:
1. In response to the question raised about average time period to arrange an alternative placement, the Head of Corporate Parenting explained that expectation was that at least 28 days’ notice would be received in order give sufficient time to find an alternative placement. However, if there was issue which needed to be resolved immediately, a placement move could sometimes take place at short notice. If a foster carer moved out of the area and was unable to take the young person with them, the Resource and Placement Team would look at finding another suitable placement immediately.
2. The Head of Corporate Parenting advised that the Assistant Director Children’s Services was notified of all complaints received about the Fostering Service on a weekly basis along with status of the complaint. Complaints were also logged in the annual report received from the Customer Relations Team.
3. The Practice Manager, Fostering explained that the recruitment of foster carers from diverse ethnic backgrounds was an issue for other local authorities as well as in Central Bedfordshire. The current focus of foster carer recruitment was various faith groups and different diversities. Work taking place included discussions with the fostering network to look at the recruitment of foster carers from the Muslim faith and also with existing foster caters to look at ways of addressing the myths around foster care from other ethnic backgrounds.
4. The recruitment of foster carers continued which included adverts in schools and via parish council. Visits could be arranged to organisations and faith groups such as church congregations. Suggestions of other opportunities of promoting the fostering service were welcomed.
5. A comprehensive training programme was in place for all foster carers to ensure a continuation of growth and development. This was in addition to core training programme provided during the first few years of becoming a foster carer.
6. The Practice Manager, Fostering explained that a tier level of payment of allowances for foster carers had been introduced in Central Bedfordshire approximately three years ago. For foster carers were required to attend mandatory training on an annual basis in order to maintain their current allowance tier or to move to the next tier.
7. The level and amount training for foster carers had increased significantly and placement stability had improved. The personal development plan for each foster carer was reviewed on an annual basis which included looking at the appropriate training to support the foster carer.
8. In response to a question raised about identifying the specific cultural needs of the children rather than general approach which might not the match of the child, the Practice Manager Fostering explained that in general the cultural background of the child was known from the initial referral and the needs of the child were looked at in order to try and match a foster carer accordingly.
9. In response to a question raised about anticipating the need for foster carers from different cultural backgrounds and having carers in place, the Corporate Parenting Manager advised that the recruitment strategy for foster carers was reviewed on an annual basis and adapted accordingly taking into account the make-up of the Looked After Children population and possible effects from crisis in other areas of the world. Training for existing foster carers included culturally sensitive areas. Looked After Children with dual heritage was an area of pressure which needed to be targeted as part of the recruitment strategy for foster carers.
10.The Practice Manager Fostering explained that existing foster carers were being upskilled and were put in contact with other foster carers from a similarly cultural background for support. A resources pack had been compiled for unaccompanied young asylum seekers which covered information such as culture, customs and food.
11.The Practice Manager Fostering advised that children in foster care had previously been involved in the training of foster carers and the expansion of involvement in this process through the Children in Care Council was welcomed.
12.In response to concerns raised about the continued increase in the number of Special Guardianship Orders (SGOs) put in place, the Corporate Parenting Manager explained that there had been concerns when SGOs were first introduced but Courts had now become more considerate in issuing these. The current rate of SGOs for Central Bedfordshire was 10/15 year rather than 40. SGOs were a recommendation from the social worker supported by the family guardian and were put in place when this was felt to be right for that particular child. The final care plan and recommendations were signed off by the Head of Corporate Parenting prior to proceeding to the Court.
The Fostering Agency Quarter 2 report.