The Panel received the Supporting Solutions Update presented by Bernadette Toomey, Practice Lead for Safeguarding (for copy of report and presentation see file of minutes).
The Practice Lead referred to the intensive support offered to families and carers to prevent children and young people from entering care. An increase in younger children presenting on the edge of care had led to the establishment of a pilot scheme ‘Edge of Care Minis’, working with children aged 7-11. The service had also extended work with 16-17 year olds on the edge of homelessness. The Panel received details of the profiles of young people supported and the outcomes from 2021-22.
In response to a question from the Panel regarding the gender of victims of child exploitation, the Practice Lead acknowledged that there is work to be done locally and nationally to recognise that exploitation happens to males as well as females and that methods of exploitation were developing at a fast pace, alongside technological advances. The Panel heard that work is taking place with an expert from Durham University in order to understand the demographics of the county and a pilot scheme is being developed in the north of the county to look at work within communities to share intelligence.
In response to a question from the Panel as to the success of family group conferencing, the Practice Lead responded that it can be very successful as families, assisted by skilled facilitators, are empowered to develop their own plans and are encouraged to be open and honest with each other.
Referring to the 7% of young people who suffer adoption break down, the Practice Lead pointed out that this may happen when children become teenagers and the Panel heard that a great deal of work is done with adoptive families to prepare them for future challenges.
The Panel commended the work of the service.
That the report be noted.