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|Topic title||Children in care|
This chapter focuses on those children in the care of Nottingham City Council, and for whom Nottingham City Council is the Corporate Parent. This chapter looks at children in care (CiC) and their identified needs, and examines the challenges these needs pose for Nottingham City Council as Corporate Parent.
The chapter details the characteristics of children in care, placement types and outcomes. It also identifies key challenges and how these impact on commissioning arrangements/requirements of local authorities for the future.
The Government wants every child in care to grow up safe, happy, healthy, secure and loved (DfE children in care article). This is the only way they will be able to fulfill their potential, and for those looked after by a Corporate Parent, it is the collective responsibility of those involved with corporate parenting to ensure this happens.
The CiC population presents a particular challenge to the council in the amount of resources in budget and staff time that are required to ensure we are fulfilling our duties of Corporate Parent. The increase in CiC in recent years has led to an associated overspend on placement budgets of 3.3million in 2010/11 putting financial pressure on the council.
Nationally at any one time 60,000 children are looked after by the local authority, 59% of whom are subject to care orders. In any one year 90,000 children in England are looked after (DfE children in care article).
A “looked-after child” includes children accommodated under a care order, those accommodated on a voluntary basis with the agreement of parents or the child if they are over 16, children placed away from home under an emergency protection order and children on police protection/remand/detention.
The majority of children are in care due to abuse or neglect, and this is also true within Nottingham, with 64% of Nottingham’s CiC population entering care as a result of abuse or neglect (Nottingham CiC analysis 2012).
For some children and young people, entering care becomes the only option to ensure they are safe. In these cases we must ensure the right placements are available, that they provide positive outcomes for the CiC, and they represent good value for money.
It has been made clear by the Prime Minister that improving the lives of children in care is a national priority, and that the adoption process needs to work more efficiently and effectively to enable faster adoption for children in care where appropriate (DfE children in care page).
There is much evidence to suggest that the life chances of children in care are less promising than those of children who do not live in the care system. In spite of numerous government initiatives the gap between these children and their peers still remains in relation to education, offending, health and substance misuse.
Paulette Thompson-Omenka, Head of Children in Care, Nottingham City Council, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Clarke, Service Manager Children in Care, Nottingham City Council, Sharon.email@example.com
Grace Brough, Insight Officer, Quality and Commissioning, Nottingham City Council,
Yu-Ling Liu-Smith, Insight Analyst, Quality and Commissioning, Nottingham City Council, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Chesters, Performance and Monitoring Officer, Quality and Commissioning, Nottingham City Council, Anthony.email@example.com