Issue - meetings

Corporate Parenting

Meeting: 27/11/2019 - County Council (Item 69)

69 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 111 KB

Report from Cllr Richard Boyles, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the report which focused on why children and young people went missing and the value of return home interviews. He drew members’ attention to the display on the Council Chamber landing of the ‘Tree of Life’ with the stories of children in care. He said that officers would be present during the lunch break to answer questions on members’ role as corporate parents.  

 

A member emphasised the importance of return to home interviews in preventing incidents recurring.

 

Cllr Boyles assured members that the Council recognised the issues and risks facing young people who went missing and was working closely with partners to reduce episodes of missing and provide support.  He said that the complexity of the issues faced by young people meant that it was not a simple one-fix process.

 

Another member referred to the growing movement towards extending mental health and wellbeing care for young people from 18 to 25.  He recognised that supporting young people into early adulthood was critical and enquired whether Gloucestershire was extending the age range for care.

 

Cllr Boyles stated that he would check to see whether this was already the position.  He noted that young people across the county were engaged through the mental health Trail Blazer Programme with a positive response to the initiatives already undertaken.

 

A member said that it was important to focus on what young people needed with the most appropriate professionals engaging at the right time.  They referred to the former ASTRA Project for young people who ran away from home which had been judged by Ofsted as an example of best practice. 

 

Cllr Boyles undertook to speak to the Director of Children’s Services to see if there were any other avenues the Council should be investigating to help young people who ran away from home.

 

RESOLVED to note the report

 

 


Meeting: 11/09/2019 - County Council (Item 54)

54 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report from Cllr Richard Boyles, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the report.  He said that he was disappointed that some members had still not signed the Corporate Parenting Pledge.  He said that it was important that members understood the lives of children in care and what had brought them to the Council’s door so that they could help shape their young lives.

 

A member noted that a list of events for children in care had now been published and they hoped that members would take the time to attend.

 

Another member thanked Cllr Boyles for organising the event for local residents relating to Trevone House in Gloucester.  They recognised the value of the facilities but questioned whether it was necessary to have a secure bed for Police use.  They asked if there were secure facilities elsewhere in the county?  They were concerned at the potential impact on young people if they were aware that Trevone House included a secure facility. 

 

Cllr Boyles stated that during the recent Ofsted visit, inspectors had welcomed Trevone House which they believed was an outstanding model to meet the needs of young people.  He said that Police cells were not the right place for young people who were suffering and it was important to have a secure facility in another location.  He assured members that the Council would work closely with partners and ensure that the required number of staff were on duty.

 

A member suggested that a mentoring scheme be introduced for young people leaving care.  They believed that people living in local communities would welcome an opportunity to get involved. Cllr Boyles stated that he was looking at this with members of the Corporate Parenting Group.  He noted that Ofsted had put forward some suggestions for care leavers and these would be raised at the next meeting of the group.  The Children and Families Scrutiny Committee would be considering the value of a peer to peer mentoring scheme at its meeting the following day.

 

RESOLVED to note the report


Meeting: 26/06/2019 - County Council (Item 41)

41 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, to present the report.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children’s Safeguarding and Early Years, presented the report which provided information on Gloucestershire’s Fostering Service.  He explained that the Fostering Service was a key part of the Gloucestershire Sufficiency Strategy including ‘Right Placement First Time’.  The strategy set a target of March 2022 to achieve 80% of children who were living with foster carers to be placed with Gloucestershire foster carers, with the remaining 20% placed with independent carers. He recognised that the recruitment and retention of foster carers was critical to the future approach.  He encouraged members to attend Fostering Support Groups in their areas to understand the issues that foster parents face.

 

Members acknowledged the quality of the service offered by the Council’s Fostering Service with an increasing number of foster carers returning to the Council from agencies due to the better level of support.  The Chairman asked that staff be thanked for their outstanding work.

 

Some concern was expressed that the number of children in care continued to rise with a current figure of 717.  Members were anxious to better understand why this was happening and they asked for more information on the action that was being taken.  They enquired how many of the children in care were under Section 20 voluntary arrangements with families. 

 

Cllr Boyles explained that it was a complex situation that local authorities across the county were facing and there was no easy fix.  He said that neglect in early years was a key issue.  He undertook to circulate an action plan that had been developed.  He noted that around 30% of children in care fell into the Section 20 category. As a result of the poor service in the past more children were coming into care later than they should have.  Criminal activity around ‘county lines’ was also a significant factor.

 

Cllr Boyles noted that the new Corporate Parenting Pledge had been drawn up by the Corporate Parenting Group after a lot of discussion.  It had been drafted in such a way that all councillors should be able sign it.  He assured members that officers would in future be emailing them to raise awareness of events, both in their own area and across the county.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.


Meeting: 15/05/2019 - County Council (Item 32)

Corporate Parenting

Oral report from Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented an oral report.  He thanked members of the Corporate Parenting Group and children in care for their help in developing the new Corporate Parenting Pledge which had been circulated to all members that morning.  He said that the role that councillors played in looking after children in care was one of their most important roles. 

 

Members of the Corporate Parenting Group encouraged other members to attend events organised by the Council which were not only fun but also provided an important insight into the challenges faced by children in care.  They said that everyone wanted the best for their own children and members as Corporate Parents should treat children in care as if they were their own.  They strongly encouraged all members to sign the new Corporate Parenting Pledge.


Meeting: 27/03/2019 - County Council (Item 17)

17 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, to present the report.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the report.  He paid tribute to the Ambassadors for Vulnerable Children and Young People for all the work in promoting the voice of children in care and care leavers

 

Two members highlighted the role of councillors as corporate parents and urged all members to take the time to show they cared by attending events with children in care.  They noted that a new Corporate Parenting Pledge had been developed by the Corporate Parenting Group and they hoped that all members would sign-up to it.

 

RESOLVED to note the Corporate Parenting report.


Meeting: 28/11/2018 - County Council (Item 71)

Corporate Parenting

Oral report from Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, advised members of a number of highlights from the Fostering Service 2017-18 Annual Report.  He said that meetings of the Fostering Panel were being held to meet demand and reduce delays.  A new evening men’s support group for male foster carers had been established which had proved successful.  The training programme for foster carers had been improved with more online courses and a new annual conference. 

 

As part of the Right First Time Placement Strategy, Cllr Boyles explained that there was now a much greater emphasis on preventing the breakdown of placements.  He provided information on the approval rates for people wishing to foster and core performance data. He said that the long term aim was to achieve 80% of fostered children living with in-house foster carers.  Targets had been set for the next three years and a budget bid had been submitted to support the growth required. A revised payments structure had been introduced in October 2018 which was more equitable for all carers and more competitive in the market place. 

 

Answering a question, Cllr Boyles explained that unaccompanied asylum seekers and children who came into the Council’s care as a result of modern slavery would be looked after for as long as required.  He assured members that they would in no way be discriminated against whilst applications to stay in the UK or proceedings to return to their home country were ongoing.  He said that children’s social workers received specific training in this area to ensure that young people in this situation received the support that they needed.    

 

A member commended Cllr Boyles on the progress that was made to improve Children’s Services but he recognised that there was much more than needed to be done. He expressed concern that press releases issued following Ofsted visits were overly positive and did not reflect the issues faced by the Council.  Cllr Boyles said that it was important for morale that positive changes were recognised and that staff were congratulated.  He noted that the last press release acknowledged that there was much more to be done.

 

Other members thanked Cllr Boyles for everything he was doing to improve Children’s Services.  They reminded members that they were all corporate parents and they should put politics to one side and make every effort to engage with children in care.  They expressed disappointment at the poor attendance by members at a recent event held in the Council Chamber for care leavers.  They noted that foster care groups took place across the county and they hoped that members would make the effort to go along to their local group to gain a better understanding of the issues.


Meeting: 12/09/2018 - County Council (Item 57)

57 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Report from Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the Corporate Parenting report.  He hoped that members would inform their group representatives on the Corporate Parenting Group of their views on the new Corporate Parenting Pledge. He was anxious that all members signed the pledge. 

 

A member stated that she was concerned that the pledge had not in the past had the support of all members.

 

Referring to invitations for members to attend foster carer group meetings in their area, a member said that this should be with the agreement of each group.  He noted that the primary purpose of the meeting was for foster carers to share their views in an informal way and the presence of members might not always be appropriate.


Meeting: 27/06/2018 - County Council (Item 44)

44 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Report from Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the report. 

A member thanked Cllr Boyles for the Member’s Seminar on Children’s Services One Year On, held on 5 June 2018. It had demonstrated how much had needed to be done and therefore how bad the system had been. He commented that it was disappointing that so few members had attended the seminar.

 

Cllr Boyles commented that a remark made at the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee about the information previously shared with the committee had stuck with him and he wanted to be open and honest about the council’s improvement journey; and wanted opposition members to ask as many questions as possible.

 

RESOLVED to note the report.


Meeting: 16/05/2018 - County Council (Item 32)

32 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Report from Cllr Richard Boyles, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People.

Minutes:

Cllr Richard Boyles, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, presented the report. 

He thanked interim Director of Children’s Services, Alison Williams, for moving across from Prospects to lead Children’s Services over the last year.  Other members recognised that it had been a particularly difficult period following the Ofsted inspection and they thanked Alison for her efforts.

Cllr Boyles advised that an event on Children in Care had been organised for members on 3 July from 10am to 12pm in the Council Chamber.  He encouraged as many members as possible to attend.

RESOLVED to note the report.


Meeting: 07/12/2016 - County Council (Item 75)

75 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 52 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning, presented the report. He noted that the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee had been looking at issues around unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the county.  The Corporate Parenting Group would be producing guidance for members in the run-up to the election in May 2017 so that new members were aware of their responsibilities.

 

The Virtual School Awards were being held that evening to celebrate the achievements of children in care.  Referring to the Children’s Activity Fund, Cllr McLain encouraged members with unallocated funds to make a contribution, however small, towards projects for children in care.

 

Cllr Lesley Williams stated that she had recently attended an appreciation evening for people who looked after children in care.  She paid tribute to them for all their work and she asked that her thanks be placed on public record. 

 

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning.


Meeting: 14/09/2016 - County Council (Item 60)

60 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 51 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning, presented the report.  He encouraged members to attend the next meeting of the Children in Care Council on 28 October 2016. 

 

Answering questions, Cllr McLain explained that there were a number of reasons why the number of children in care was rising. These included more activity by the Police and related agencies, children in remand being automatically categorised as children in care, decisions by the courts and the county supporting other parts of the country in taking unaccompanied asylum children.  He said that a large number of extra social workers had been recruited, some of which were newly qualified and relatively inexperienced.  He hoped that as they gained knowledge and experience there would be fewer referrals and they would be more confident in putting forward other options.

 

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning.


Meeting: 29/06/2016 - County Council (Item 47)

47 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 54 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

In presenting the report, Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning, said that a very successful meeting of the Corporate Parenting Group had been held earlier that week.  He stated that the Young Ambassadors had been closely involved in the meeting which had focused on leaving care.  He noted that the Young Ambassadors sat on the advisory bodies for adoption and fostering and had started attending social worker forums.  It was likely that the Corporate Parenting Group would be making recommendations to Leadership Gloucestershire on apprenticeships and preparedness for work.

Answering questions, Cllr McLain said that members should not be overtly concerned about the increase in children in care in the county.  It was a sign that the right mechanisms were in place to identify children at risk.  One of the factors was the increase in activity by Gloucestershire Constabulary to address domestic abuse.  He noted that the Leader of the Council had been commended nationally for the steps taken in Gloucestershire to house unaccompanied refugee children from Syria.

Referring to out-of-county placements, Cllr McLain stated that some children in care had very specific needs and these could only be catered for in specialist facilities outside Gloucestershire.  In some instances, children were placed with an extended member of their family who lived outside the county.

Cllr McLain undertook to speak to Cllr Jack Williams outside the meeting regarding a specific matter relating to a specialist facility for children in care in Herefordshire.

Answering further questions, he said that the investment in the recruitment and retention of children’s social worker was beginning to pay dividends.  He referred to the pilot work in Gloucestershire which was making a real difference.  He recognised that it was early days but all the signs were positive.

Cllr Lesley Williams, a fellow member of the Corporate Parenting Group, expressed concern that some children in care were struggling to find employment.  She noted the importance of providing work placements for children in care and she called upon the district councils to provide opportunities in their areas.

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning.


Meeting: 11/05/2016 - County Council (Item 34)

34 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 67 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

Cllr Paul McLain, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning, presented the report.  He was anxious that care leavers were given appropriate support when they left full-time education and entered the work place.  He believed that there might be some value in undertaking a piece of research specifically relating to this.   He said that he had raised the issue with the Local Government Association and the office of Edward Timpson MP, Minister of State for Children and Families.

A member stated that she had attended the social worker day held at Gloucester Cathedral.  She said that she was impressed by the work being undertaken, particularly activities around restorative justice.

Answering questions, Cllr McLain recognised that a significant number of people in prison came from a care background.  He paid tribute to the Gloucestershire Youth Offending Team for their activities locally in breaking the cycle of reoffending.  He noted that their work had been recognised nationally. 

Referring to unaccompanied refugee children, he believed that the Council had a moral duty to provide the best support that it could.  He said that children who had come to the county had integrated well into local communities and many were now seen as role models to other young people. The Council would be working with the district councils in providing accommodation for Syrian refugees.  The Government had made a commitment to provide funding to ensure that appropriate levels of support were available.

 

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning.


Meeting: 02/12/2015 - County Council (Item 76)

76 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 63 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning, presented a report updating members on the latest position.  He said that the next meeting of the Corporate Parenting Group would be held on 3 December and not 9 December as indicated in the report.      

 

Answering questions, he stated that there was some frustration about the judiciary’s approach to adoption and he hoped that this could be addressed in the future.  He recognised that there were real problems around the recruitment and retention of children’s social workers.  He welcomed the recent work undertaken by a scrutiny task group to address this issue.  

 

Cllr McLain thanked those members who had attended the Peter Lang Children’s Trust awards evening for children in care on 1 December.  A member said that children in care often had not had the best start in life and she noted how important it was for members to attend events which recognised their achievements.

 

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children & Young People and Strategic Commissioning.


Meeting: 23/10/2015 - County Council (Item 63)

63 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 58 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People and Strategic Commissioning, presented a report updating members on the latest position.  Answering questions, he recognised concerns regarding the figures published of children that might be at risk of sexual exploitation.  He said that a scrutiny task group had been looking in detail at issues around the recruitment and retention of children’s social workers.  He was hopeful that the group’s recommendations would help in addressing capacity issues. 

 

Cllr Joe Harris stated that he had recently attended a Corporate Parenting Group for the first time and he had been impressed by what he had heard.  He said that updates had been provided on the work being undertaken by the under 11 and over 11 groups.

 

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children & Young People and Strategic Commissioning.

 


Meeting: 08/07/2015 - County Council (Item 49)

49 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 54 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children & Young People and Strategic Commissioning, presented the Corporate Parenting report.  He said that he was pleased to see members at the ‘Fun in the Sun’ event at Bentham on 26 June 2015.  He noted that a number of members had allocated money from their Children’s Activity Fund to support children in care and this had helped in organising ‘Fun in the Sun’.  He hoped that members would do the same in the coming year.

 

A member stated that she was disappointed that some members had still not signed the Corporate Parenting Pledge.  She encouraged members to attend the events organised for children in care.

 

Answering questions, Cllr McLain explained that there was usually a good reason why some children in care were placed outside the county.  This often related to emotional, behaviour and personal safety issues.  There were, however, a minority of cases where placements simply could not be found in Gloucestershire  He said that the Council was continuing its campaign to encourage more people to adopt or foster children.  Referring to the role of the local member, he accepted that more could be done to raise awareness of children in care of the role of corporate parents.

 

The Chairman encouraged those members who had not signed the Corporate Parenting Pledge to do so.

 

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children & Young People and Strategic Commissioning.

 


Meeting: 20/05/2015 - County Council (Item 35)

35 Corporate Parenting pdf icon PDF 75 KB

For information and members’ questions.

Minutes:

Cllr Paul McLain, the Cabinet Member for Children & Young People and Strategic Commissioning, presented the Corporate Parenting report.  He drew members’ attention to ‘Our Pledge’ which had been developed in conjunction with the Children in Care Forum and the latest edition of the ‘Voice’ newsletter.  He advised that there had been a change to the legislation relating to visits to children’s homes.  They were now Regulation 44 rather than Regulation 33 visits with the new regulation providing for a greater level of independent challenge.  He said that members would continue to have the opportunity to participate in visits and he encouraged more members to get involved.  He thanked Corporate Parenting Champions, Cllr Brian Oosthuysen and Cllr Stan Waddington, for attending the meeting of the Corporate Parenting Group on 23 April 2015.

 

Cllr Stan Waddington recognised the importance of members’ role as corporate parents.  He said that the support provided by the Council was less visible than other services such as highways. He hoped that members would do all that they could to support children in care and he was pleased that a number of members had participated in visits to children’s homes.  He suggested that a seminar be held for members so that they could discuss ways of being ‘pushy parents’ so that children in care fulfilled their potential.  He encouraged members to attend the ‘Fun in the Sun’ event at Bentham Country Club on Saturday, 26 June 2015. 

 

Cllr McLain stated that individual support packages were being put in place for children with clear targets set for academic and other achievements.  He noted that GCSE and A Level results for children in care had been considered by both the Children and Families Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Corporate Parenting Group.  He offered to provide Cllr Sarah Lunnon with a separate written briefing.  Answering further questions, he explained that four children had come into the Council’s care as a result of being remanded in custody or receiving a custodial sentence.

 

The Chairman thanked Cllr McLain and the members of the Corporate Parenting Group, including the Corporate Parenting Champions, for all their work on behalf of children in care.

 

RESOLVED to note the report of the Cabinet Member for Children & Young People and Strategic Commissioning.