Issue - meetings

Children Looked After Sufficiency Strategy 2019 -2022 and Market Position Statement

Meeting: 25/03/2019 - Cabinet (Item 73)

73 Children Looked After Sufficiency Strategy 2019 - 2022 and Market Position Statement pdf icon PDF 541 KB

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Councillor Bernie Mooney introduced a report which reminded Cabinet Members of the increase in numbers of children looked after in Wirral over the last 3 years and informed that this trend was replicated across the North West. It was noted that the increase had coincided with a decline in the number of recruited foster carers across the region resulting in all local authorities having difficulties in providing sufficient placements. The supply and demand issue in foster care had resulted in children’s home placements being used for children who previously would have been looked after by foster carers.  The overall placement market was, therefore, more challenging than at any point in recent or distant history. Councillor Mooney reported that in order to respond to the challenges outlined it was essential that the Council developed a robust approach to commissioning services, and that it worked in a transparent and collaborative manner with placement providers.


Councillor Bernie Mooney also reported that Wirral’s Looked After Children Sufficiency Strategy 2019 - 2022 had set out how the local authority and its partners worked together to provide the best environments for children in care and care leavers over the next three years. Part of that would include ensuring that there were enough alternatives to care, through for example, supporting families to stay together or finding alternative permanent homes for children. It would be about ensuring, where that was not possible, children stayed locally and in family-based settings.  It would also include ensuring that there was a choice of high-quality provision for all children, at whatever stage in their life, that was designed around their needs and wishes so that they could grow into independent, healthy and successful adults.


The Cabinet noted that the Strategy was aligned to Wirral’s Market Position Statement (MPS) which provided an overview of current position and predicted demand for provision over the next two years. This Strategy sought to outline the Council’s overall approach to managing that demand and focusing on the right solutions and choices to provide children with the best possible outcomes.


The Cabinet also noted that Children Looked After by the Council had left their birth family homes and were placed in accommodation across the borough. Therefore, the approval of the Strategy and Market Position Statement was a key decision for Cabinet.


Appended to the report was:


·  Appendix 1 – The Wirral Children Looked After Sufficiency Strategy 2019 – 2020; and


·  Appendix 2 – Wirral’s Market Position Statement (MPS) based on current and predicted need.


No other options had been considered.


Councillor Mooney reported that both the Sufficiency Strategy and the Market Position Statement recognised the significant challenge the Council faced in terms of the numbers of its looked after children (840+) and the challenge with the placement market at the current time. The key response to these challenges was to look at further developments of the in-house resources by developing the in-house fostering service to ensure that it was more responsive to the needs of the cohort of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 73