More help for vulnerable children in care
Vulnerable and complex children who struggle in normal foster care are now getting special help.
Sheffield Council has started a new Aspire project to give stability to the most vulnerable children in care.
A new hub helps children with complex needs, providing accommodation and robust support to families in the community and in care, and a second hub is due to open.
The council has also worked hard to recruit more foster carers and extra panels have been arranged to ensure people are approved without delay. Eleven new foster carers have been approved this year, compared to six at the same point in 2018.
There is also a focus on finding adoptive parents and supporting foster carers who may want to adopt.
Coun Jackie Drayton, Cabinet member for children and young people, told a scrutiny meeting: ”The hub is early days but, fingers crossed, it seems to be making a difference.
“Some young people who would have come into care have not and we have managed to keep them with their families with specialist foster support. They will always be brought into care if we feel they need that.
“There are not enough permanent placements nationally, not just in Sheffield. Children coming into care are more complex and challenging and we are doing everything we can to increase specialist foster carers and wraparound support.
“It’s tough because there are not enough people coming forward but we never give up on finding them a forever home, special guardians or adoption.”
A recent Ofsted report of children’s services said early indications were the new service was having a positive impact.
Inspectors said: “When children enter care, there are insufficient placements for a small number with the most complex and challenging needs.
“This means that some children experience delays in being matched to a permanent home, with some experiencing temporary moves which are unsettling.
“Senior managers have acted successfully to begin to increase the number of foster carers being recruited. They have developed the Aspire project, which supports the most vulnerable children to achieve stability in their lives.”