Approved the Children & Young People’s Placement Sufficiency Strategy at Appendix 1 to the report.
The Lead Member for Education & Children's Services introduced a report on the Children & Young People’s Placement Sufficiency Strategy.
The Council had a duty to ensure that its children in care had suitable accommodation within the local authority’s area that met the needs of children. The strategy proposed at Appendix 1 to the report set out how the Council would seek to meet this duty. It was noted that there had been a rise across the country in the number of children being looked after and it was therefore a challenge to provide the sufficiency of accommodation required. Slough also faced significant pressure from the placement of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and the resulting increase in care experienced young people who were entitled to support.
The Executive Director, People (Children)/Slough Children First Chief Executive highlighted that the priority was to ensure that all children were provided with a safe and loving home and to keep children as close to the local community as possible. The strategy had identified five key areas including strengthening early help and ‘edge of care’ support, and fostering recruitment and retention. A Sufficiency Board would be set up to oversee the delivery of the strategy. One of the longer term options was to scope the potential of creating SBC/SCFs own internal residential home for children. Lead Members expressed support for the concept but asked questions about whether such a proposal was viable in the Council’s financial circumstances. It was responded that the first step would be a feasibility study and the provision of such a facility would have to be cost effective.
The Cabinet highlighted its commitment to the wellbeing of children in Slough and welcomed the contribution the strategy could play in achieving that aim. Discussion included what more could be done to recruit foster carers and make Slough a ‘foster friendly authority’. At the conclusion of the discussion the strategy was approved.
Resolved – That the Children & Young People’s Placement Sufficiency Strategy as at Appendix 1 to the report be approved.