Annual report shows progress and achievements made in supporting children and young people in care and care leavers

Cabinet members have noted the progress and achievements made by the council’s Corporate Parenting Panel in supporting children and young people in care, together with care leavers, when they received its annual report at their meeting today (Wednesday, 24 June).

The annual report demonstrates the Panel’s continuing compliance with its statutory responsibilities, as well as the added value which it brings to the experience of children and young people both in and leaving care.

This is particularly demonstrated in helping them stay safe and healthy; improve their aspirations and prospects as well as enjoy enriching lives in accordance with the council’s ‘Pledge’ to children in care and care leavers in the borough

It outlines the role and responsibilities of the elected members as a corporate parents and the progress and achievements made by the Corporate Parenting Panel towards improving the range of outcomes for children in care and care leavers, including on the following, during 2019/20:

  • Safeguarding and protection.
  • Health and wellbeing.
  • Achieving their potential through education.
  • Permanence, quality of placements and placement stability.
  • Promoting engagement, participation and inclusion.

The role of the Corporate Parenting Panel includes ensuring that all children in need of care in any part Barnsley, together with those from other areas who are placed for care in the borough, receive the help and support which they require in order to stay safe and healthy, gain a good education and to lead rewarding lives.

The Panel’s latest annual report covers the period immediately preceding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Members heard how during a period in which social distancing, self-isolation and restrictions upon the public’s movement could, potentially, impact upon provision, the council and its partners have continued to ensure that the full range of its statutory responsibilities continue to be met and that no children in care or care leavers are exposed to a greater risk of harm as a result of the lockdown.

In spite of the challenges emerging through social distancing; restrictions on public movement and the need to self-isolate if necessary, visits and assessments of children and young people in care continue to take place and that their concerns are heard and acted upon including via the ongoing work of the Care4Us Council.

This is the second annual report of the Panel to have been published following Ofsted’s standard inspection of Local Authority Children’s Services in the Borough (2018) which awarded ‘Good’ judgements in every key area of the inspection, including services for children in care and care leavers.

In a follow-up visit to the local Test of Assurance undertaken by the Government’s National Implementation Advisor for Care Leavers in 2018, Barnsley was cited as an exemplar for good corporate parenting in his first annual report.

These outcomes have provided assurance to Barnsley residents, of the Council’s continuing commitment towards fulfilling its ‘Pledge’ for children in care and in delivering its Local Offer to care leavers.

Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for Children’s Services, said: This is a really positive annual report. The work programme shows everything that the service accomplished during 2019/20, setting out the progress and using benchmarking which shows we are doing well in meeting children’s outcomes.

“It’s a great insight into just how much work has been done, that outcomes for our children in care are consistently good, while we strive to remain highly aspirational and deliver even better outcomes for our young people.

“It is particularly pleasing to note that education outcomes for children in care across all key stages continue to improve year on year.   Young people in care, leaving school are being effectively supported to access Post 16 education opportunities including college courses and apprenticeships.

“However, the Corporate Parenting Panel and officers are highly ambitious for our children in care and strive to make continuous improvements, to achieve the very best outcomes for them, in spite of the challenges we currently face.”

The Cabinet report and Corporate Parenting Panel annual report can be read here.

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