Agenda and draft minutes

Rescheduled from 19/09/22, Corporate Parenting Panel - Wednesday 12 October 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams. View directions

Contact: Helen Barnsley  Senior Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

General

1(1)

Apologies

Minutes:

Councillor Jerry Roodhouse

Councillor Marian Humphreys

1(2)

Disclosures of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Minutes:

None.

1(3)

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 306 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as a correct record.

2.

Children in Care Council - Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

Refugee Celebration Week

Marie Dionisi informed the group that the celebration took part on the 20th June and it involved over 118 asylum seekers, young people, staff members and foster carers. There was a celebratory meal and awards ceremony and they learnt about a film being done on the asylum experience.

Deborah McGarvey said that on the 22nd June there was a film event for professionals; three films for WCC and its young people seeking asylum called “My experience of arriving in the UK”, “My experience of the support I have received” and “My experiences settling into life in the UK”. These were all shown to the group of professionals at the event, and they were put onto YouTube. They are available for staff training, and they were shared with the Home Office who said they would use them as part of their training resources. Sharon Shaw noted that these films were done with money from the West Midlands Migration Bid and these films are available for all West Midlands authorities and any others who want to use them.

The Chair said that he would like all members to watch these videos.

 

Staff Conference

Ian Donnachie informed the group that on the 15th July there was a staff conference and Voice Influence Change (VIC) had a slot; some who spoke from the team were care experienced members of staff. Liss Philipps and Alisha Howe spoke about young people in care, leaving care and some of the activities that they were doing. They spoke about how they were engaging and responding/listening to young people's voices. Umar Tareeb did crowd interaction around about being an asylum seeker, talking about refugees and things they were doing in that area. Ian Donnachie presented a video where he interviewed nine young people who were care experienced in Warwickshire and they gave some of their opinions like what could be improved in work practice and things that were done well. He spoke on what they were doing in VIC to help support young people. Ian Donnachie spoke on his personal experiences too. After showing a video they had two representatives from the Youth Council give a speech. Ian Donnachie praised everyone who took part in the event. 

 

In response to the Chair, Ian Donnachie said that improvements were being made around engaging with the Children in Care Council. Sharon Shaw added that WCC’s local offer paid for winter bills which was essential in this current climate with uncertainty around electricity and gas.

 

The video around participation shown at the conference was presented to the group

 

Bournemouth Trip

Marie Dionisi informed the group that on the 31st May there was a day trip to Bournemouth with 12 families, children and foster carers. The children were aged between 5-14; families and staff made sandcastles together and some young people went in the sea and played cricket on the beach. They had fish & chips and ice cream after. 

 

Refugee Football Team

Umar Teerab informed the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.

3.

Performance Data (to include update from SWFT) pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Minutes:

Sharon Shaw informed the group that there were now 819 children in care and central government recently told local authorities that everyone had to increase the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people. Therefore, WCC had to take on an extra 30 unaccompanied asylum seekers, so Warwickshire now has 110. They were coping with this increase by bringing in more staff, especially with the new supported accommodation in Leamington.

Not including the number of asylum-seeking young people, WCC had the lowest number of children in care since November 2021. This was because of the early interventions in place and the wrap around support to get children back home was working well. All the data was on Power BI and it showed there was a drop in young people entering care but there were a few teenagers entering it. One on the reasons for this was children being placed on SGOs (special guardianship order) instead of going into care. Refugee families waiting in hotels was a strain on the health and education services. The number of young males in care in Warwickshire was likely to rise because of the increase of unaccompanied asylum seekers. 26.4% of children in care are in minority ethnic groups, this was also increasing because of the asylum seekers. Most young people in care were aged between 10-15 followed by 17-16 year olds. They were working on short-term placement stability after five teenagers had to keep being moved because they did not have any placements; this was a national issue. Cambian informed WCC that they will be closing a lot of their residential units because they were not financially viable.

 

In response to Councillor Caroline Philipps, Sharon Shaw said that the unaccompanied asylum seekers were coming from Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Albania. All of them are placed in hotels because there is no other accommodation available. It was believed that there was an increase from children from Albania because they were being trafficked because they disappear from the hotels they are in.

 

Deena Moorey noted that the virtual school was taking in more unaccompanied asylum seekers because finding school places was difficult; some were having to travel out of their borough to go to school. There was a long waiting list for these young people to enrol onto courses that taught English as a second language.    

 

In response to the Chair, Sharon Shaw said that short-term placements was a problem in Warwickshire because there were a shortage of placements and children would need one as soon as they were put into care. If one young person was being challenging in a placement, then they could be made the leave by the place holder and another child would move in immediately. This was a problem in Warwickshire because they did not have their own children’s homes before, so they were always relying on commissioned services. Some carers struggled to meet the young people’s needs due to criminal exploitation.

 

Following another question from the Chair, Sharon Shaw said that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Warwickshire Adoption Report & ACE Report pdf icon PDF 245 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sharon Shaw informed the group that in Warwickshire, the number of children who were adopted increased to 34. However, the number of children who been placed with adopters decreased from 28 to 18 so this implied that there would be a lot less children adopted next year. There were no adoption disruptions and there were 22 placement orders in the last year; this number was decreasing each year. This was because there were more SGOs, or children placed with connected persons. 2016-17 had the most adoptions with 70 and there were 26 SGOs; in 2022 there were 46 SGOs. The number of placement order in 2016-17 was 49. This decrease in numbers was not bad because it showed that children were being placed with their families and adoption was not right for the child.

All but three adoption cases were placed with ACE adopters, two of these were for sibling groups. Most children adopted were boys aged between 1-4 and White British. They focused on ‘foster to adoption’ which is when children who are fostered become adopted by their foster parents; this happened in six occasions in 2021.

Next year they intended to focus on the time gap between a child being placed in care and adoption orders being granted. They will also focus on family time work with adopters (making sure they have clear plans if siblings are being separated or if parents or grandparents want to and cane see the child that they do). Life story improvement was also planned so the children would know why/how they were adopted and they wanted to increase fostering to adoption.

 

In response to the Chair, Sharon Shaw stated that they were falling behind on when a child came into care to the adoption order being granted. This was caused by the courts being closed during the pandemic, but these were now progressing through as courts reopened. There were difficulties in some cases where it took three years for the adoption order to be granted.

 

In response to Councillor Philipps, Sharon Shaw clarified that a disruption was when after a child formally moved in and their placement fell apart or did not work before the adoption order was granted. This meant the child being placed back into care. If this happens after the order is granted, then it classifies as a family breakdown. 

 

Following a question from the Chair, Sharon Shaw said that some local authorities had longer timescales then WCC and this impacted ACE’s figures but not Warwickshire’s. Warwickshire had a good adoption service before joining ACE.

5.

Warwickshire Children in Care Health Service pdf icon PDF 473 KB

Minutes:

Carla Elliot informed the group that she started her role in August 2021, and it was a difficult period. There was a complete turnover of nursing, administrative and senior management staff. This created a backlog of health assessments being offered and this was exacerbated by Covid-19.

Carla Elliot wrote a recovery plan, and this was worked through to get staffing levels to increase after a recruitment drive and team building.

They were able to meet the needs of the children’s health assessments and achieving their KPIS by doing them in 20 working days. They were continuing to do allocation meetings whereby they risk assess and RAG rating all their HRO requests into to book them in priority order. They continued reviewing audit health assessments that were done by other professionals and out of area. They now had Angela Richardson from the CCG as the Designated Children in Care Nurse and they would continue to develop and support the team with the recruitment plan because they were looking at developmental roles within the team. They want to assist the ICB with updating the service specification because it was last written in 2019. The Health and Looked After Children (HELAC) Operational Group started up again which will enable networking and collaborative working.

They were planning on updating and auditing the RAG rating service they used. They were also relooking at the KPI data they shared on the health assessments and the data they collected and triangulating as part of that health assessment and social care. They wanted to look at care leavers health passports for their future health needs, with up-to-date signposting and services. They were planning for this to be bespoke for each child and for them to have leaving care summaries and considering the different vulnerabilities of the different children.

 

In response to the Chair, Carla Elliott clarified that the 20 working days were from when they received the paperwork to the request from social care. The first step was to ensure the child gets the health assessment in a timely manner and the relevant paperwork needed to be completed by the local authority before they could proceed. They then need to book the appointment and there might be reasons why that is declined or there might be lots of different pathways they need to go through. This deadline was being met but two members of staff were off long-term sick which caused other things to be pushed back as health assessments needed to be prioritised.

Angela Richardson added that she would like to bring a report to the panel on governance on what they were doing in health. They had strategic HELAC and operational HELAC and they wanted to ensure it was reported to the panel appropriately. From a compliance point of view, everything needed to be as robust as possible.

6.

Development of the Work Programme for 2022/2023 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Minutes:

Governance for Child in Care – Angela Richardson to be added onto the work programme

Virtual School Autumn Report 2022 - Deena Moorey

7.

Good News Stories

Officers to put forward good news stories for children looked after, care leavers or foster carers. 

 

Minutes:

Leisure Centres

In response to Councillor Philipps, Sharon Shaw informed the group that most the gyms in Warwickshire were run by Everyone Active. Everyone Active were now providing free gym and swim membership to all children in care and all care leavers.

8.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

None.

9.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on 28th November 2022 at 10am

 

Future Meetings

 

·         16th January 2023 @ 10am

·         27th March 2023 @ 10am

 

Proposed Dates for 2023/2024

 

·         19th June 2023 @ 10am

·         18th September 2023 @ 10am

·         13th November 2023 @ 10am

·         15th January 2024 @ 10am

·         25th March 2024 @ 10am

Minutes:

28th November 2022 at 9:30am