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Agenda item

Quarter Two 2019/20 Performance


The Chair welcomed Stephen Tracey, Corporate Equality and Strategy Manager, who was in attendance to provide an update on performance relating to looked after children and care leavers during the second quarter of 2019/20 (for copy of report and presentation, see file of minutes).  


The Corporate Equality and Strategy Manager explained that the information dated from the end of September, and, at that time there were 878 looked after children.  That figure had risen to 901 children at the present date.  The presentation analysed performance relating to the characteristics of looked after children, the provision of stable environments, and, health and wellbeing.


The Chair thanked the Corporate Equality and Strategy Manager and asked the Panel for their comments and questions.


Members observed the high cost of independent foster care and the Head of Children’s Social Care commented on the highly competitive market in which the local authority must compete with the independent sector to recruit from the same pool of potential foster carers.


Members expressed concern that during April to September, the number of foster carers approved was fewer than the number deregistered.  The Head of Children’s Social Care commented that the reasons for this are varied and include ill health, age, and, family circumstances.  In response to a query from the Chair as to whether this is monitored, the Head of Children’s Social Care confirmed that data is contained in the placement sufficiency strategy and work is ongoing with regard to the recruitment and retention of foster carers to ensure the service meets demand.


Members observed that 39 young people are placed outside the north east and requested more information.  Members were assured that these young people are in the most suitable placements to meet their needs.  The figure includes 18 young people who are placed in adoptive placements, 6 placed with relatives and 3 in supported lodgings, leaving 12 young people who are actually placed out of county. The Head of Children’s Social Care advised that those young people living outside of the north east receive regular visits and the commissioning team work closely with providers to ensure that quality and safety standards are maintained. 


A young person from the Children in Care Council asked if care leavers are encouraged to consider training to become social workers and consider foster caring in the future. The Head of Children’s Social Care commented that young people are encouraged to explore every opportunity with our Durhamworks/EET colleagues adding that some young care leavers have progressed to train as social workers.




That the report be noted.



Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714