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Agenda item

Care Leavers' Strategy - Annual report - Report of Head of Children's Social Care

Minutes:

Carole Gill, Operations Manager for Children Looked After and Care Leavers presented the Care Leavers’ Strategy Annual Report which provided an update on progress against the objectives set out in the Care Leavers’ Strategy 2019 to 2023 (for copy see file of minutes).

 

The Panel noted performance against strategic priorities remains strong, despite the impact of the pandemic.

Outlining areas of performance against the strategic priorities, the Operations Manager reported on the appointment of a dedicated Accommodations and Support Officer, and, an increase in the number of ‘Staying Put’ arrangements in place. The Panel noted the good progress with respect to the number of young people in suitable accommodation and the Operations Manager paid tribute to the excellent partnership working taking place.  Performance in relation to participation of care leavers is in line with, or, above that of comparators, with 30 care leavers at University or other higher education establishments and 7 care leavers in apprenticeships with the Council, one of whom hopes to secure a full time post as a Young Person’s Adviser in the future.  The Council continues to work with DurhamWorks and colleagues in Human Resources, to increase opportunities for care leavers. 

To continue the good work of the former Chief Executive, a meeting is to be held with the Interim Chief Executive to discuss future plans to support children looked after and care leavers.  The Panel noted areas for future development include the roll-out of the ClearCut communications tool, the establishment of the Care Leavers’ Hub and the development of a ‘Staying Close’ pilot.

Councillor Reed thanked the Operations Manager for the good work which is clearly benefiting the young people and asked what support is available for young people who choose to move from foster care to independent living.  The Operations Manager explained that work begins early to ensure that the individual needs of the young person are matched to pathway plans, with the aim being for a clear pathway plan to be identified well before the young person reaches the age of 18.  Support is ongoing up to the age of 25 and each young person has access to a Young Person’s Adviser until they reach the age of 25, should they wish to do so.  ‘Staying Put’ arrangements are available for those young people who wish to remain with their foster carers.  For young people with highly complex needs, whose plan is to move into the care of Adult Services, work is carried out with the Transitions Team. 

The Operations Manager spoke of the increasing range of accommodation options and the support provided by the Edge of Care Service and Supporting Solutions, for young people who require additional support. 

 

Councillor Richardson congratulated the achievements of the young people, particularly those studying at University and higher education establishments.

 

Resolved:

 

That the report be received.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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County Durham
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