FIFE CORPORATE PARENT ACTION PLAN

Document Sample
FIFE CORPORATE PARENT ACTION PLAN Powered By Docstoc
					FIFE CORPORATE PARENT
      ACTION PLAN

      2010 – 2013




           1
                  CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.    INTRODUCTION

2.    CORPORATE PARENTING

3.    WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT OUT LOOKED AFTER
      CHILDREN IN FIFE

4.    SAFE

5.    HEALTHY

6.    ACHIEVING

7.    NURTURED

8.    ACTIVE

9.    RESPECTED AND RESPONSIBLE

10.   INCLUDED

11.   WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

12.   DATA COLLECTION

13.   CORPORATE PARENT CHECKLIST

14.   REFERENCES




                        2
                         EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


The concept of corporate parenting was first introduced in Scotland through
the Children (Scotland) 1995 Act to ensure that the local authority acted as a
good corporate parent.

Thereafter, the publication of “Extraordinary Lives” by the Scottish Executive
in June 2006 and “Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and
Must do Better” in January 2007, both strongly argued the need to
address the ill defined and often misunderstood concept of corporate
parenting. “Extraordinary Lives” reported “we have concluded that the
single most important thing that will improve the future of Scotland’s
Looked After Children is for local authorities to focus on and improve
their corporate parenting skills”. Similarly in “We Can and Must do
Better” the vision emphasises that “second best is not good enough for
Scotland’s Looked After Children and young people”. Indeed, the Scottish
Government’s vision, linked to its five Strategic Objectives, is as follows :

      By working together we will enable and empower children and young
       people in:
      Becoming effective life long learners
      Developing into successful and responsible adults
      Being emotionally, mentally and physically healthy; and
      Feeling safe and nurtured in a home setting

In considering how best we meet these challenges, it is important also to see
corporate parenting in the wider policy context and in particular its
relationship with current children’s services initiatives both locally and
nationally. The corporate parent concept sits very comfortably with
initiatives such as the integrated children’s services planning framework;
More Choices, More Chances implementation; the new quality
improvement framework and joint inspection of integrated children’s
services. Getting it Right in Fife developments will continue to
embrace such policy priorities. The various Fife initiatives are integral to
the successful implementation of the corporate parenting strategy and
improving outcomes for Looked After Children and Young People.


In March 2007 Fife launched its Corporate Parent Statement which laid out
the roles and responsibilities of Fife Partnership for children and young people
who are looked after by Fife Council. The responsibilities identified in this
statement were emphasised by the Scottish Government’s 2008 publication
These Are Our Bairns. In response to this guidance and within the aim to
embed corporate responsibilities within the Community Planning structure in
Fife, a Corporate Parent Board has been established, with representatives
from the Local Authority and its partners. Indicators relating to Looked After
Children are incorporated within Fife’s Single Outcome Agreement and others
will be measured through the monitoring of this action plan. With a view to


                                       3
ensuring that looked after children’s views are considered and included in any
service planning and development, the Corporate Parent Board includes a
young person representative. Additionally HMIE published in June 2009
How Good Is Our Corporate Parenting? This publication is designed to help
local authorities and partners evaluate and improve corporate parenting
capacity and skills. This action plan incorporates the principles outlined in the
How Good is Our Corporate Parenting publication.

PROPOSED PRIORITIES

A number of priorities are proposed for adoption throughout Fife which will
form the basis of a Fife Corporate Parent Action Plan. These are detailed
further in this Plan within the action planning sections:

      The establishment of the needs of Looked After Children as a priority
       Issue across the community planning partnership in Fife. Participation
       in the Corporate Parent Action Plan is necessary at every level to raise
       awareness and champion the needs of Looked After Children.

      Information about Looked After Children and young people should be
       recorded accurately and consistently. In addition, all partners should,
       where appropriate, share information relating to looked after children,
       enabling agencies to make informed decisions. This will contribute to
       improvements in service planning and outcomes for our looked after
       population.

      Increasing the number of high quality placements to meet the needs of
       accommodated children and young people. Ensuring that standards of
       care for children placed out with the authority are acceptable.
       Supporting existing care placements by way of training and
       development within Fife’s residential and foster care services.

       Improve the educational outcomes for all looked after children and to
       support them in accessing and making full use of the full time
       curriculum.

      Provide a high quality multi-agency service to young people when they
       cease to be accommodated. Plans will encompass all their needs,
       including housing, education, employment and training.

      Promote good health and wellbeing for Looked After Children through
       the development and implementation of a Health Improvement
       Strategy and Action Plan to ensure that the specific health needs are
       identified and addressed supported by a health improvement approach
       in Fife.

      Prioritisation of the needs of Looked After Children to NHS service
       provision to ensure that health needs of individual children are routinely
       assessed by Universal services and access to specialist provision to
       meet these assessed needs agreed.


                                        4
      Ensure that Looked After Children enjoy good health and wellbeing and
       receive high quality health services.

      Involvement of, consultation with and advocacy for Looked After
       Children and their families in the decisions made about their lives and
       the planning processes involved in providing and designing services.


KEY ACTIONS REQUIRED

In pursuance of these priorities, a number of key actions are required.

      All current members of Fife Council, NHS Fife Board, Police and
       Voluntary Sector management groups are fully briefed on their role as
       a corporate parent. Induction processes for new members should
       include this briefing.

      Elected members establish a robust scrutiny mechanism to ensure that
       a clear set of outcomes for Looked After Children is implemented and
       that these scrutiny mechanisms monitor progress in achieving those
       outcomes.

      Action is taken to develop corporate responsibility across all council
       senior managers in all services / across all members of the Community
       planning partnership comments to be considered as above).

      The establishment of a mechanism to celebrate the success of Looked
       After Children and Young People.

      Ongoing review of existing policies and protocols to ensure that all
       Looked After young people’s health and wellbeing needs are met.

      Self evaluation across all aspects of the Action plan


KEY OUTCOMES

The overarching outcomes Fife hopes to achieve

      Engaging with looked after children children and young people in order
       that services are developed by their views and experiences.

      That the above outcome will lead to measurable outcomes being
       achieved.

      That ALL children and young people have a voice and their contribution
       is recognised.




                                       5
   Development and scrutiny of an information sharing system (local and
    national) based on the agreed Information Sharing Protocol specific to
    this population

   Shared assessments of need based on the SHANARI principles.

   Reduce the need for children becoming looked after.

   Improved equality for looked after children (positive discrimination).

   Developing a workforce that is skilled in meeting the needs of looked
    after children and committed to improving outcomes.

   Ensure that the needs of LAC are reflected in all policy documentations
    whether child specific or impacting on this population




                                     6
1.    INTRODUCTION

This action plan has been developed by Fife Council and its partners following
recent national publications. Since May 2007, there have been fundamental
changes in how Government works with its partners in local Government and
beyond to develop policies and deliver services for the people of Scotland.
The concordat between central and local government sets out the terms of a
new relationship with local government, based on mutual respect and
partnership. It also sets out a national performance framework with high level
targets and national outcomes and indicators; setting the scene for delivering
on the Scottish Governments purpose “To focus Government and public
services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of
Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth”.

In pursuance of this purpose, Fife Council and its partners are committed to
developing a holistic, strategic plan in respect of it’s looked after children.
This plan will build on the progress that has been made by all services
working collaboratively, examples are highlighted throughout this action plan,
but will detail new developments and measures to meet the challenge of
improving outcomes for looked after children.

Our aim in Fife is to reduce the gap in outcomes between our looked after
children and the wider children and young people population. We will do this
by listening to and learning from children and young people, building on what
works and addressing what doesn’t. Key to the success of this plan will be
the ongoing integration of services and improvement in information sharing
processes.

For all agencies, the challenge of targeting resources remains a complex
issue. Fife recognises the need to target resources around those most in
need, whilst also being committed to the role early intervention and
preventative services play in reducing the need for children and young people
becoming looked after.

Service provision from all agencies in Fife is available to children placed by
external local authorities with families or care providers. For example, NHS
Fife provision can be accessed based on need throughout Fife regardless of
the placing authority.




                                       7
2.     CORPORATE PARENTING

2.1. Corporate parenting means the formal and local partnerships needed
between all local authority departments and services, and associated
agencies, who are responsible for working together to meet the needs of
Looked After children and young people, and care leavers (Looked After
Children and Young People : We Can and Must Do Better, Scottish Executive,
2007).

As highlighted in These are Our Bairns, Scottish Government, 2008, being a
good corporate parent is not only a responsibility but an opportunity to
improve the future of looked after children and young people.

        ‘Good parents make sure their children are well looked after, making
        progress at school, healthy, have clear boundaries for their own and
        others’ safety and wellbeing and are enjoying activities and interests.
        As they grow older, they encourage them to become independent, and
        support them if they need to become part of the local community and
        access further or higher education, training or work.

        Corporate parents must do the same, albeit that many more individual
        people will be involved in the corporate family than some ordinary
        family. Every family is different and lifestyles across Scotland are
        becoming more and more diverse. Corporate parenting needs to be
        the “the same but different” across different communities, while
        delivering the essential components that children need throughout
        childhood and young adulthood’.

The three key elements to Corporate Parenting have been defined as follows :

     1. The statutory duty on all parts of a local authority to co-operate in
        promoting the welfare of children and young people who are Looked
        After by them, and a duty on other agencies to co-operate with
        councils in fulfilling that duty.
     2. Co-ordinating the activities of the many different professionals and
        carers who are involved in a child or young person’s life, and taking a
        strategic, child-centred approach to service delivery.
     3. Shifting the emphasis from ‘corporate’ to ‘parenting’ defined by
        Jackson et al in 2003 as ‘the performance of all actions necessary to
        promote the support the physical, emotional, social and cognitive
        development of a child from infancy to adulthood’. The local authority
        delegates this function to those providing day to day care for the child
        or young person.

(These Are Our Bairns, Scottish Government, 2008)




                                         8
2.2. CORPORATE PARENTING IN FIFE

Fife’s Corporate Parent Statement 2007 laid out the roles and responsibilities
of all agencies in respect of looked after children. As stated in the Statement,
the principles of good parenting include :

   -   Providing a safe and nurturing environment
   -   Responding to children and young people’s individual developmental
       and health needs
   -   Listening to children and young people
   -   Striving for continuity and stability
   -   Having high expectations
   -   Valuing and promoting education
   -   Seeking early intervention and appropriate support when needed
   -   Promoting inclusion
   -   Championing their rights.

Fife’s Corporate Parent Board established in 2008 includes the following
agencies/services from across the Community Planning Partnership as well
as a young person :

Elected Members of Fife Council
Social Work Service
Education Service
Community Services
Housing Services
NHS Fife
Who Cares
Fife Constabulary
Fife Children’s Rights Service

The role of the Corporate Parent board includes setting strategic objectives for
children’s services; being aware of progress made by all agencies in
achieving better outcomes for looked after children; championing the rights of
looked after children and through the elected members, ensuring that
resources are allocated accordingly.


2.3. CORPORATE PARENTING BOARD PRIORITIES AND
COMMITMENTS

Establish the needs of Looked After Children as a priority within services
as well as developing a structure which places these needs at the front of
planning and delivery integrated children’s services.

Ensuring looked after children’s needs are prioritised in service developments
locally and across Fife.




                                       9
All those concerned with supporting children and young people, including
children’s champions would actively undertake a number of roles. Primarily:

• Promoting understanding of children’s needs, rights, participation
and services with other members, at Fife Council and NHS
Fife committees, boards and other appropriate governance
groups.

• Supporting service managers and groups on local matters.

• Participating in developing means to enable young people to become
involved in local decision making.

• It will be necessary to take positive action in favour of Looked After Children
and young people in order to effect the change in culture required to improve
the outcomes for this most vulnerable of groups.

2.4. MULTI-AGENCY AUDITS

It is incumbent upon the Corporate Parenting Board to ensure that there is a
mechanism for measuring positive outcomes for children. This should include
high level outcomes, service specific outcomes and a measurement of soft
outcomes for looked after children. In terms of soft outcomes it is proposed
that Fife pilot the SOUL Record evaluation tool in order to ensure that a
holistic overview of all aspects of a child’s care experience is monitored.

Fife Council and its partners are already involved in multi-agency auditing of
child protection and looked after children cases. It is proposed that this model
be developed to ensure scrutiny measures are in place regarding our looked
after children in order to monitor progress within this action plan.




                                       10
3. WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT OUR LOOKED AFTER
CHILDREN IN FIFE
The term ‘looked after’ is a legal definition and is used when a child or young
person is subject to a supervision order from a Children’s Hearing. Looked
After Children fall into three main groups:

      Those who are on compulsory measures of supervision at home;
      Those who have been removed from home and accommodated ‘in
       care’, in a setting such as a children’s unit, residential school, or foster
       care, on a voluntary or compulsory basis;
      Those whom the council has parental responsibilities, having been
       through a statutory process to remove these from the birth parents.

The responsibilities of local authorities in respect of Looked After
Children are detailed in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and in
summary they are to:

      safeguard and promote the welfare of Looked After Children;
      encourage positive relationships between Looked After Children
       and their parents and siblings as appropriate;
      ensure advice, guidance and assistance to children who are leaving
       and have left care;
      ensure the views of Looked After Children are listened to and taken
       into account when decisions are made about their lives.

The reasons for children becoming looked after are complex and can be as a
result of poor care and protection, offending behaviour, mental, physical and
emotional abuse. Historically, they are at greatest risk of having poor health,
education and employment outcomes and are more likely to become
homeless and display offending behaviour.

3.1.   The National Picture

The Scottish Government collects and collates information from
Scotland’s local authority social work services about Looked After
Children and young people eligible for aftercare services. This data is
then published as the Children Looked After Statistics (CLAS) on the
Scottish Government website.

The following information relates to the most up to date national
statistics available at time of writing.

      At 31st March 2008, 43% of children looked after were placed at home
       with parents, and 16% were looked after by friends or relatives. 29%
       were looked after by foster carers. 11% were in residential
       accommodation.




                                        11
      There were 5,158 children who started to be looked after in 2007-08, a
       decrease of 2% on 2006-07. The number ceasing to be looked after
       increased by 9%, to 4,513.

      55% of young people ceasing to be looked after above school leaving
       age during 2007-08 had a pathway plan on the date they were
       discharged, and 57% had a pathway coordinator.

      There were 3,765 young people reported to be eligible for aftercare
       services on 31st March 2008. 42% of those with known economic
       activity were in education, training or employment, an increase of 4%
       on 2007.

      At 31st March 2008 there were 1,891 children being looked after on a
       series of short term placements. Just over half of all these were looked
       after in residential establishments.

Underpinning the above are the challenges faced by local authorities :

      Trends relating to age, gender, the nature and type of placements,
       educational attainment and economic activity have been tracked over a
       number of years to produce national statistics which in turn are applied
       to the development of new policy.

      Difficulties in easily accessing information about Looked After Children
       and incompatible recording systems hamper effective planning across
       the partnership.

      Critical information about children’s backgrounds, patterns of family
       placement including permanent placement, offending rates and school
       attendance is often not recorded or compared consistently and
       consequently does not inform the planning process on an individual or
       collective basis. Statistical information relating specifically to Looked
       After Children is not routinely extracted or compared to that of their
       peers.

      The Scottish Government has produced a new reporting framework in
       terms of educational outcomes of Scotland’s Looked After Children and
       Young People.

      The data collated by local authorities is also used to provide evidence
       that they have met the Statutory Performance Indicators (SPIs)
       imposed by the Accounts Commission.

3.2. Looked After Children in Fife

For the most part, the circumstances of Fife’s Looked After Children
compares favourably to that of their peers in other local authorities.




                                       12
There are currently around 800 Looked After Children in Fife. This
number has risen year on year since 2000, significantly so between
2004 and 2008 when there was an increase of 59% compared to 28%
nationally.

What follows is a comparative analysis of children looked after statistics
benchmarked against authorities of a similar demographic, economic
and geographical nature.

Benchmarking authorities are:

        South Lanarkshire
        Falkirk
        Clackmannanshire
        West Lothian
        Renfrewshire

Fife has consistently maintained lower numbers per 1000 than the national
average although this gap has decreased year on year. In 2008 Fife had 9.8
Looked After Children per 1000 population of under 18’s compared to the
national average of 13.4.

                  Number of Children Looked After (per 1,000 of 0-17/0-18 population)
  16.0

  14.0

  12.0
                                                                                        Fife
  10.0

   8.0                                                                                  Comparator
                                                                                        authorities
   6.0
                                                                                        Scotland
   4.0

   2.0

   0.0
           2003        2004        2005        2006         2007        2008




                                                  13
             Childre n Look e d Afte r: Type of Accom m odation 2008
    100%
                                                                         At home w ith
      90%                                                                parents

      80%

      70%                                                                With f riends /
                                                                         relatives /
      60%                                                                other
                                                                         community
      50%
                                                                         With f oster
      40%                                                                carers /
                                                                         prosective
      30%                                                                adopters

      20%                                                                Residential

      10%

       0%
                    Fife         Com parator         Scotland
                                 authorities




Considerably more Fife children are looked after away from home
than are looked after at home. In 2008, 32% of all Looked After
Children in Fife were looked after at home, however, this is well below the
national average which at 2008 sat at 43%.

Proportionally slightly more Fife children and young people are
accommodated with family friends and other relatives – 18% as
opposed to 16% nationally.

Fife has 41% of it’s looked after children with foster carers or prospective
adopters. This is higher than any of its comparable authorities and the
national average, both of which are 30%.

The proportion of Fife children and young people in residential
Facilities (10%) is lower than the national average (11%).

In Fife, results concerning change of placement are detailed below :




                                       14
                             Children Looked After away from home: 3+ Placements
40%

35%

30%
                                                                                     Fif e
25%

20%                                                                                  Comparator authorities


15%
                                                                                     Scotland
10%

 5%

 0%
             2005           2006                     2007                     2008


Although Fife’s figures for 2008 are not available, the above chart highlights
that looked after children in Fife are subject to a higher rate of placement
change than our comparable authorities and national figure. In 2007, 32% of
children experienced 3+ placement, compared with the national percentage of
29%. It is important that Fife ensure that children are placed appropriately in
order that changes of placement are minimised and stability is secured.

Work is underway to build on improvements already made in the quality
and accuracy of information relating to LAC in Fife contained in both
social work and education data management systems and how the
authority as a whole can meet the challenges involved in collectively
addressing the needs of Looked After Children.

In order of overcome the national challenges and those specific to Fife, we
have identified the following priorities and commitments.

         Improved communication and liaison between planning, IT and
          operational staff.

          Regularly monitor statutory and key performance indicators, measures
          and core information.

         Improve recording of core data, placements, educational achievements
          and attainment, ability, health, housing circumstances and use of
          leisure/recreational facilities.




                                               15
3.3. Offending Behaviour amongst the Looked After Children of Fife


Since August 2009, offending rates for Fife’s Looked After Children have
started to be collected separately from the general youth offending population
and are as detailed below.

In August 09, there were 185 juvenile offenders, of which 18 (10%) were
Looked After Children. Of these 18 young people, the re-offending rate was
56%.

In September 09, there were 258 juvenile offenders, of which 32 (12.5%) were
Looked After Children. Of these 32 young people, the re-offending rate was
47%.




                                      16
4. SAFE
4.1.   Early Intervention Services

Fife supports various early intervention services such as ACORN, Pre-School
Community Teams, Nurture Centres, CEDAR project, Voluntary
Organisations, Family Support Teams, midwife lead approaches such as the
Vulnerable in Pregnancy Project and the Family Health support Project which
target pregnant women who need additional support due to substance misuse
or other issues such mental health problems or learning disabilities. There has
also been recent focus on understanding and supporting infant mental health,
as the basis for strong emotional and intellectual development.

Family Support Services are required to demonstrate that they are
contributing to reducing trends associated with family breakdown, family crisis
and residential placement through maintaining outcomes focused evidence
based approaches and seeking means of reducing dependencies on
specialist provision. This may involve providing practical supports alongside
more intensive interventions while helping children and families to access and
benefit from, universal services and community activities.

Family support service planning and development is increasingly informed
through the involvement of children and families.


4.2.   Youth Justice

Fife Youth Justice Strategy aims to challenge and engage young
people who are involved in youth offending and anti-social behaviour in
Fife. The strategy which is progressed on a multi agency basis
identifies the levels of risk and which agency will undertake the relevant
programmes or activities with young people. The higher the risk the
more intensive the support provided to the young person.

The Youth Offender Management Group, which deals with all juvenile
offending in Fife has recently been allocated dedicated police analyst time.
This will enable research and analysis to be undertaken to identify trends,
offence types and hotspots within the general youth offender population as
well as specific groups, including Looked After Children. This will ensure that
services can be appropriately targeted to this group.


4.3.   Domestic Abuse

Witnessing or living with domestic abuse can have a significant impact on the
safety, health and wellbeing of children and young people. There is a strong
correlation between domestic abuse and child abuse, including the emotional
abuse experienced as a result of witnessing domestic abuse. Children and
young people’s resilience to domestic abuse can vary according to a multitude


                                       17
of factors, but particularly important is their relationship with their parent(s),
and the availability of support outside the immediate family situation.

Fife is one of three pilot areas in Scotland to develop the CEDAR (children
experiencing domestic abuse recovery) Groupwork Project, designed to
complement one to one support available to children living in Women’s Aid
refuge and in the community. CEDAR is a therapeutic programme which
helps children identify and express emotions surrounding violence,
separation, shame, guilt and loss. A concurrent mother’s programme helps
equip mothers to support their children.




                                         18
SAFE : Protected From Abuse, Neglect Or Harm At Home, At School And In The Community
Aim/Outcome         Activities                                       Indicators                                         Timescales /
                                                                                                                        Responsible Agencies
Safeguard children     Develop improved communication protocols to ensure Monitoring Regulation 7                       Social Work
and young people to    notification of LAC status to universal service    notification process – within
ensure they are safe   practitioners (Regulation 7)                       and outwith Fife.
from neglect and
harm.
                       Agree staged intervention / care co-ordination                 Number of Cause for Concern Social Work
                       approach for all looked after children (Getting it Right       Referrals that lead to child
                       in Fife)                                                       becoming looked after


Develop greater        Ensure that early intervention becomes a core value            Outcomes from Parenting           Parenting Strategy
capacity amongst       across services in and beyond early years.                     Strategy which will include       Group
parents to improve                                                                    outcomes from the Review of
outcomes for           Development of a Parenting Strategy to ensure                  services for children with
themselves through     parenting work is targeted at most vulnerable families         disability.
increased support
and improved           CEDAR programme will help mothers have a greater               National CEDAR evaluation         Pilot funded to March
parenting skills,      understanding of domestic abuse, the impact on their           will identify the impact of the   2011
including agreed       children and equip them to support their child/ren             programme                         Social Work / FDASAP
family support for
children with
disabilities.
Ongoing                Introduce joint initiatives that tackle the effects of anti-   Reduction in looked after         Youth Offender
development of         social behaviour on children/young people.                     children committing offences      Management Group
Youth Justice
Strategy.




                                                                     19
Children and young       Children throughout Fife are able to access specialist   Scottish Government annual        Social Work / FDASAP
people develop           one to one and CEDAR groupwork support                   monitoring of refuge, follow-
resilience in relation                                                            on and outreach support.
to their experience
of domestic abuse                                                                 National CEDAR evaluation         Pilot funded to March
                                                                                  will identify the impact of the   2011
                                                                                  programme                         Social Work / FDASAP




                                                                   20
5.   HEALTHY

The physical and mental health of children and young people looked after is
too often poor in comparison to that of their peers. There are strong
connections between poverty and poor health and these inequalities have
already impacted on many children in care. For some this will be combined
with an early experience of trauma and abuse. Health and wellbeing
underpins the capacity of children and young people to achieve their potential
in life and overcome disadvantage. Key to this is access to comprehensive
assessment of need and access to a range of services to meet the identified
need.

The solutions to addressing these inequalities are not straightforward and do
not lie entirely with health care services. Secure attachments and friendships,
healthy food and opportunities to be physically active, a smoke - free living
environment, hobbies and play, and access to information ,support and
services are all important factors that make a contribution to a holistic and
integrated approach to health and wellbeing.

Action 15 of Looked After Children and Young People: We Can and Must Do
Better states:

       “Each NHS Board will assess the physical, mental and emotional
       health needs of all Looked After children and young people for whom
       they have responsibility and put in place appropriate measures which
       take account of these assessments. They will ensure that all health
       service providers will work to make their services more accessible to
       Looked After and accommodated children and young people, and to
       those in the transition from care to independence.”

NHS Fife are accountable to implement CEL16 whereby the Scottish
Government indicate the parameters of service provision which must be
offered by the NHS to support the needs and promote the health of looked
after children. Where necessary, services will be redesigned to ensure that
the required provision is available within the identified time frame (2015).

Improving the health and wellbeing of looked after children and young people
in Fife are highlighted as focus areas within Fife’s Joint Health Improvement
Plan, with the Corporate Parenting Group taking the lead for progressing this
work.

5.1. Health Needs Assessments for Looked After Children

Assessing the health needs of children as they enter the care system is vital
to ensure that planning is appropriate to the identified needs of each child,
whether for universal or specialist service provision. Research indicates that
the long term outcomes for children who are accommodated within their own
home may be poorer than those accommodated in kinship, foster care or


                                      21
residential care. It is important that corporate parenting responsibilities
address the requirements for service provision to meet the health needs of all
looked after children.

The role of The Community Paediatric Service is to offer a comprehensive
Health Needs Assessment to every Looked After child or young person who is
accommodated and to children/young people on home supervision or placed
with relatives where there are clearly health needs which are not being met. A
medical report including care plan will be provided and appropriate referrals
will be made. Children/ young people will be reviewed according to clinical
need and will also be advised on the role of the Public Health Nurse/other
agencies.


5.2. Access to Services

Sexual Health Services are available throughout Fife and pilot work is ongoing
through Health Psychology to support access to these services.

CAMH is working to ensure the delivery of a Mental Health assessment in line
with the implementation of “Mental Health of Children and Young People
Framework for Promotion, Prevention and Care” and also Delivering for
Mental health within the required timescale of 2015. To assist this a pathway
will be developed which describes a tiered approach for assessment based on
identified clinical need to ensure access to specialist CAMH provision
Planning to incorporate the guidance for service provision as laid out in CEL
(2009) 16 is underway within NHS Fife and will impact on future service
provision.

Joint working between social work and NHS Fife in relation to the Springfield
Project (Therapeutic Service for Young People accommodated in Fife Council
placements) continues. The learning from this approach should guide
considerations of service provision for all looked after children.

Training support relating to a range of health specific topics can be accessed
through specialist practitioners from NHS Fife as required. Specific training
relating to Sexual Health was available to Social Work Service throughout
2008

Support across the Social Work Service is available for individual cases or in
relation to policy development through the placement of the Interagency
Consultant Nurse for NHS Fife within the Social Work Service. This has
included the ongoing development of a Smoke-Free Placement policy and
review of the Administration of Medication Policies for Residential Care Units.

5.3. Play

Attachment to a parent/carer is critical to the growth of a baby's body and
mind. Babies and children who have this bond and feel loved have a better



                                      22
chance to grow up to be adults who trust others and know how to return
affection.

Play is the “work” of childhood and is critical to a child’s healthy development.
In particular, babies and children need stimulation and interaction to foster
brain development. For children who require statutory measures of care their
previous life experience may not have enabled normal development through
the provision of opportunities for them to play, inhibiting their creativity,
imagination, and social and emotional skills.

Carers will be supported to provide opportunities in everyday routines that
support the learning and development of children through initiatives such as
the play@home. This approach promotes physical activity and emotional
development in 0 to 5 year olds and is available throughout Fife.




                                       23
HEALTHY - Having the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health, access to suitable healthcare, and support
in learning to make healthy and safe choices.
Aim/outcome          Activities                                               Indicators                  Timescales /
                                                                                                          Responsible Agencies
Assess health        Input from community paediatrics (clinical & admin) to   Number of referrals to      Social Work/NHS Fife
needs of Looked      deliver and co-ordinate. Identified resource from        Paediatrician within
After Children and   Universal Service provision in community to support.     timescales (SW)
Young People         Access to necessary facilities
                                                                              Health Needs Assessments Social Work/NHS Fife
                     Promote registration with a GP, dentist, regular health, completed within timescales
                     dental and eye checks, advice on sexual health, mental
                     health and emotional wellbeing                           Looked after children       Social Work
                                                                              registered with GP and
                     Robust database                                          dentist.
                     Clarity of resource requirement
                     Equity of service provision                              Health and wellbeing
                     Interagency communication and working.                   training and support        Social Work
                                                                              accessed by the range of
                     Agree workforce                                          carers.

Provide appropriate   Resource / facilities identified within services to meet   Number of looked after         Social Work / NHS Fife
services on           assessed need                                              children accessing
accessed need for                                                                specialist health services.
individual LAC&YP     Information on access to all specialist services
                      including CAMH, specialist sexual health services and      Monitor availability of        NHS Fife
                      young people’s drop in service provided. (Development      specialist health services /
                      of information packs).                                     waiting times etc.

                      Support the introduction of Care Co-ordination             Number of information




                                                                  24
                        Approach to specialist health care provision            packs distributed at health   NHS Fife
                                                                                needs assessment.
                        Link Clinical pathways to Health Needs Assessment                                     NHS Fife/Social Work
                        referrals.

                        Looked after children encouraged and supported to
                        access Clinical Pathways


Capacity / resource /   Needs assessment and action plan (JHIP compliant)
facilities within
Public Health
Nursing to carry out
Health Needs
Assessments
Identify population     Agree social work policy in relation to provision of    Number of carers opting       Social Work
focussed health         smoke free environments                                 into the Smoke Free Homes
improvement needs                                                               and Zones initiative.
(Fife Health
Improvement
Strategy)
Ensure young            Promote registration with GP and access to health and   The number of care leavers    Social Work
people leaving care     wellbeing services.                                     being registered for health
have the skills and                                                             services
knowledge to make
informed choices
around health and
wellbeing, in
particular sexual




                                                                   25
health, drugs and
alcohol and know
how to access
support and
services.




                    26
6. ACHIEVING

6.1. Current Position in Fife Council

Fife education service is committed to ensuring that the educational
disadvantages associated with being looked after are addressed effectively.
This is being done by taking account of the needs of LAC in all policy
documents. This is specifically reflected in the education service plan and
approaches and developments in the curriculum ethos and pastoral support in
schools. Education staff are key partners in inter –agency developments
including those set up to address for example child protection, youth
offending, cause for concern and the creation of a single shared planning
mechanism with associated monitoring and quality assurance.

6.2. Designated SMT member and teacher

All schools have a designated member of staff who undertakes specific
responsibilities for LAC and link with agency partners. They build on
continuing work with regard to school ethos, pastoral care and monitoring the
attendance and achievement of individual LAC in their schools. All designated
staff and partners have undergone joint multi –agency training including SW,
NHS Fife, Voluntary services Police and other partners in local areas
throughout Fife. This coordinated training is to continue and develop in line
with GIRIF and We Can and Must Do Better and related guidance.

6.3 School Liaison Mechanisms and Joint Action Teams

All schools are required to operate in a multi agency partnership. In all
secondary schools this is undertaken through a regular formal meeting. In
primary schools this mechanism is carried out through designated staff.
These mechanisms report on outcomes relating to the achievement,
attainment and inclusion of LAC pupils.

The monitoring of the education of looked after children has improved
significantly since the advent of Joint Action Teams. Every High School
across Fife makes a monthly return to JAT regarding different aspects of their
education, e.g., timetable, attendance, exclusion, progress. This has allowed
individual area JAT’s to become aware of any individual young person where
there are significant issues in their areas and to agree a multi-agency
approach to improve the situation.

These returns will enable JAT’s to regularly consider this data and identify
strategic issues across their area, as well as providing a Fife-wide perspective
when the returns across Fife are collated. This information will also
periodically be made available to the Corporate Parent Board as part of the
reporting process on the education of looked after children.




                                       27
The Getting it Right in Fife group is currently considering proposals to simplify
the multi- agency decision making processes including those of JAT, it is
anticipated that recommendations regarding rationalisation of multi –agency
groups concerned with decision –making around the most needy children and
families and young people will be made by October 2009.

The JAT chairs produce an annual report which includes all indicators linked
to the education of LAC.

6.4. Attainment And Achievement

Educational achievement of LAC in Fife . Achievement of LAC is monitored by
all schools and reported through the mechanisms above. In addition there is
local quality assurance reporting and support from the Area Service
Improvement teams.

Pupil support services within schools and within specialist resources e.g. PSS
in local areas have a specific duty to monitor and target support to Fife’s LAC.

The Education Service has recently developed a policy on Flexible Approved
packages which is designed to ensure that those pupils who are not in full
time school attendance have their needs met appropriately. These packages
are negotiated with the young person their carers and relevant social work
staff. The Service has set up mechanisms to monitor the deployment and
impact of this policy and are specifically monitored with regard to LAC pupils.

6.5. More Choices, More Chances

The Scottish Government guidance states the following :

       ‘16+ Learning Choices is our new model for ensuring that there are
       clear, robust processes in place for ensuring that all young people
       completing compulsory education have an offer of a suitable, high
       quality place in post-16 learning. As such it will support the planning
       and delivery of a coherent and inclusive curriculum in the senior phase,
       irrespective of setting, taking specific account of the needs of ‘weaker’
       learners.

       16+ Learning Choices means an offer of appropriate post-16 learning
       to all young people well in advance of reaching their statutory school
       leaving date. As such, it is a central part of delivering CfE and in
       realising the Scottish Government’s commitment to improving
       participation rates in learning post-16

       Partners should pay particular attention to young people whose
       additional needs and/or personal circumstances present significant
       barriers to learning, `

In Fife, the following initiatives have been set up or are currently being
implemented :


                                        28
      Set up a dedicated 16+ Learning Choices Implementation Team made
       up of secondees from across the More Choices, More Chances
       strategic partnership in Fife.
      Set up a 16+ Learning Choices Co-ordinators Network with all 19
       secondary schools represented
      Each school is in the process of setting up their own internal team to
       take for authority this initiative at a local level. This will be lead by the
       nominated Co-ordinator for the school and include, among others, key
       guidance staff, the lead Skills Development Scotland (Careers) Advisor
       in the school and a nominated member of staff from Community
       Learning and Development and the link Educational Psychologist.
      Fife will, in 2009, be one of ten local authority partnerships to become
       involved in the early implementation of Activity Agreements in Scotland
       focussed on engaging and supporting those who cannot currently
       access or sustain more mainstream learning options on leaving school.

6.6. Employment, Education Or Training

The percentage of young people entitled to aftercare who were in
employment, education or training in 2006 was 15% (23% national average).
2007 figures report Fife’s percentage also at 15% (25% national average).
The target proposed for 2008 is 23% (draft MCMC action plan).

Priority action within draft MCMC 2008 – 11 Action Plan – ‘Targeted focus on
Care Leavers and Looked After Children’, Outcome – Increase % in
employment, education or training.




                                        29
ACHIEVING : being supported and guided in their learning and in the development of their skills, confidence and self-esteem
at home, at school, and in the community.
Aim/outcome            Activities                                               Indicators                      Timescales /
                                                                                                                Responsible Agencies
The education          Improving the targeting of support within schools and By 2011 50% of young people Education
Service will narrow    in local area specialist provision.                      ceasing to be looked after will
the gap between the                                                             have attained at least SCQF
educational                                                                     Level 3 in English and Maths
performance of the     Sharing collective accountability for integrated
looked after           children’s service delivery to LAC                       Increased number of flexible    Education
population and that                                                             curriculum opportunities for
of the rest of the                                                              LAC in schools have led to
school population.     Monitor impact of placement stability against            higher achievement levels
                       educational attainment – linked to joined up             across Fife areas
Improve educational information systems. Eg Getting It Right in Fife
attainment and         Group or School Liaison Mechanisms or Joint Action       Increase in number of full-     Education
achievement            Teams)                                                   time packages for looked
outcomes for                                                                    after children.
Looked After
Children.              Developing curriculum flexibility further in conjunction Decrease in exclusion rate      Education
                       with Community Learning and Development                  and length for looked after
The Curriculum for                                                              children.
Excellence ensure      Ensure opportunities for achievement for LAC are
initiatives around     accredited where appropriate
improving health and
wellbeing are in       Develop the new e1 Management Information System
place for all learners to capture achievement information of LAC
but some headings




                                                               30
may be more
appropriate as a
focus for LAC and
would be contained
in the individual /
child’s / young
person’s plan for
review meetings.
Year on year           Monitoring at school level by designated teachers      Improved attendance and           Education
improve the            and targeted support through school base pupil         reduced exclusion of LAC is
attendance level of    support and area specialist services                   demonstrated.
Fife’s looked after
children so that it                                                           Measure around exclusion.         Education
matches or exceeds
the general school                                                            Performance reporting on          Getting It Right in Fife
population and                                                                Children’s Services /Getting it   Group
national attendance                                                           Right priorities will be
levels.                                                                       assisted by regular inter
                                                                              agency quality improvement
                                                                              tasks scrutinising the
                                                                              developments in place.
Provide support to     Work with partners to achieve positive leaver          Increase % of care leavers in     More Choices, More
improve the            destinations for LAC.                                  employment, education or          Chances Group
numbers of care                                                               training.
leavers entering and   Utilising Fife Council and NHS resources to increase                                     More Choices, More
sustaining positive    employability options.                                                                   Chances Group
destinations post
school.




                                                                31
                     Strengthening inter agency partnerships with                                            More Choices, More
                     Community Learning and Development and                                                  Chances Group
                     to ensure that all looked after young people leaving
                     school have been made and accepted an offer under
                     the More Choices More Changes strategy
Reduce instances of Finally develop and implement the Fife Housing           By 2012, 50% less young         Housing/Social Work
homelessness &       Register protocol for Independent Living by January     careleavers will become
improve the housing, 2010                                                    homeless
health and
employment           Fully implement the Sustainable Living element of the   By 2012 increasing              Housing/Social Work
outcomes for young Revised Homelessness Approach for Fife (2009-12)          sustainability of tenancies
careleavers                                                                  held by young careleavers for
                     Develop the Modular Housing Support Programme to        12 months by 33%
                     ensure that effective linkages are made with the
                     MCMC priorities, and health improvement objectives

                      Implement the Specific Needs Housing Approach to
                      review and further develop the range of
                      accommodation options for young careleavers




                                                              32
7. NURTURED
7.1. Early Years Strategy Group

A multi-agency Early Years Strategy Group has been established to oversee
the development of Fife’s overarching Early Years Strategy and
implementation of the National Early Years Framework.

The group is remitted to provide strategic leadership for planning and delivery
of services for children and families pre birth to age 8 within Fife’s Children’s
Services reporting framework. This recognises the importance of the ante
natal period for positive outcomes and key transition points of nursery and
primary entry.

The Early Years Framework sets out the case for action with regard to the
early years and early intervention and the transformational change that
needs to happen to deliver the vision of giving all our children the best start in
life.

In line with national strategies various partnership groups in Fife are focusing
strategy, services and funding on early years, early intervention and family
support.

7.2. Kinship Care

The Scottish Government’s national strategy, ‘Getting it Right for Children and
Young People in Kinship and Foster Care’, published in late 2007, stressed its
commitment to the consideration of a child’s family as the first option when
children need to live away from their birth parents.

The strategy requires local authorities to develop support services for kinship
carers of a similar nature to services which support foster carers. Local
authorities have to ensure, by April 2011, that kinship carers of looked after
children receive an allowance equivalent to that paid to local authority foster
carers.

Fife is, therefore, currently reviewing the financial support offered to kinship
carers of both looked after and non-looked after children, and developing
policy and practice around the approval, assessment and support for kinship
carers.

7.3. Commissioning

The aim of the Social Work, Children and Families Commissioning Strategy is
to secure better outcomes for children and young people in Fife.

Key objectives are :




                                        33
       To increase the proportion of purchased placements made within Fife,
        i.e., to keep those young people who cannot live at home as close to
        their local area/s as possible.
       To develop a variety of family support services to maintain young
        people in the community
       To develop a tiered approach to service provision alongside other
        agencies.
       To improve the monitoring and quality of commissioned services and
        base our Service Legal Agreements/contracts on outcomes for young
        people.
       To integrate feedback from young people and families into the
        commissioning cycle.
       Availability of specialist service provision to meet identified need
        (waiting list times, prioritisation)

7.4. Foster Care

Developing a pool of local carers big enough to ensure that every looked after
child has a good quality match will not be achieved quickly. Continued effort
year on year in a competitive market to sustain existing carers, increase levels
and variety of carers remains a difficulty for all local authorities.

The challenge facing all local authorities is that the demand for placements of
all types effectively removes the possibility of choice and careful matching
except for the placement of very young children for adoption. In addition, the
rise in looked after children impacts on foster carers who may have
placements over numbers and/or children outwith their approved age range.

The number of foster carers fell from 175 to 164 between April 2007 and
March 008, whilst the number of young people in foster care increased by 1 to
258.

7.5. Placement Stability and Support

The Scottish Government publication We Can and Must Do Better gave a
clear message to local authorities on the importance of stability in care
settings. Placement stability is recognised as being key to achieving better
outcomes.

As noted above, Fife’s placement stability is below the national average.
Ensuring foster carers, residential and other care staff receive a high quality of
support is often the key to achieving stability. Recent developments include :

       Springfield Project (Therapeutic Service for Young People
        accommodated in Fife Council placements)
       Development within CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health
        Service)
       Training Programme




                                       34
7.6. Permanence

Historically, one of the main concerns for looked after children was the
likelihood that children would be left to ‘drift’. This can be attributed to a lack
of clear planning in order to secure a permanent living arrangement, resulting
in lengthy time delays for many children. The recently introduced Child’s Plan
in Fife aims to focus on agreed outcomes in reaching an overall aim for each
child, whether that be a return home, adoption or long term fostering.
Timescales and responsible workers are clearly identified and review
mechanisms have been introduced whereby progress is tracked in order that
delays and obstacles can be addressed early on. Fife also has a robust
permanence manual which supports staff in the permanence planning
process.

Some children have to wait too long for permanent families. Fife’s aim
through this Corporate Parent Action Plan is to improve the permanence
planning process for children and young people and reduce the risk of
‘drifting’.


7.7. Fife Council Residential Resources

Fife have five residential houses with a combined capacity of 22. At
September 2009 the houses were almost at full capacity with children aged
between 11 and 17 years. Length of placements range for 5 years to 5
weeks.

The staffing complement is 3 senior residential care workers, 36 residential
care workers, 8 housekeepers and 4 admin staff. 20 of the 39 residential and
senior residential care workers’ have the relevant qualifications. The
remainder are currently involved in some level of vocational study.

The two further homes providing respite for children with disabilities have
capacity to provide respite for up to 47 children between the ages of 5 and 17.
There are 2 senior residential care workers and 14 residential care workers. 7
of the staff have the relevant qualifications, with the remainder involved in
vocational study.

Looked after and accommodated children and young people will be
encouraged to develop friendships outside the care setting including
visiting the homes of friends and having friends visit their place of
residence. This to include overnight stays where appropriate.

7.8. Purchased Placements Made Outwith Fife

The increase in demand for Fife foster care placements and placements in the
small residential houses has led to a greater use of high cost packages of
care for many young people, either in emergencies or where no planned
provision is available. However, over the past three years Fife has increased


                                        35
the percentage of purchased placements made within Fife from 28% to 68%
and have nearly met the 2009 target of 70%. The Social Work Service aims
to increase this further and recognises that in future a ‘mixed economy of
care’ will be provided – i.e. placements managed by Fife Council together with
those managed by private providers, but commissioned on a more planned
basis.

Fife Social Work Improvement Plan has a target for 09/10 to increase the
number of children looked after within Fife from 89.60% in 06/07 to 95% in
07/08. Initiatives developed over the past few years include developing closer
relationships with many providers in order that they aware of Fife’s needs and
have developed placements within Fife. A tender for services to support
young people returning from Fife from purchased placements outwith Fife has
also been developed.

7.9. Children with Disabilities

                         % of Children Looked After with a Disability
 14%

 12%
                                                                               Fife
 10%

 8%
                                                                               Comparator
                                                                               authorities
 6%

 4%                                                                            Scotland


 2%

 0%
           2005              2006                   2007                2008




In 2008, the percentage of looked after children with a known disability in Fife
was 3%, a decrease of 1.6%-points over the previous year. This compares
with a decrease of 3.8%-points for comparator authorities, and a decrease of
1.4%-points for Scotland as a whole. The percentage looked after children
with a known disability (3%) is less than the comparator average (8%), and
less than the Scotland average (10%).

During 2009 a multi-agency review of services for children with a disability
was carried out. This should impact on looked after children with a disability
in terms of the support and range of services that will be available in the
future. The review will also link to the Getting it Right in Fife agenda. Actions
from the review will be identified during the course of 2010 and a sub-group
will be set up to consider issues specifically in relation to respite care.

7.10. Visits

A comment raised by young people and highlighted in We Can and Must Do
Better was around young people being able to “get in touch with social
services much easier”. The Social Worker’s relationship with a child or young



                                             36
person is paramount to ensuring the child’s views are heard and included in
any case planning.

The Social Work Service recognises that as part of building relationships with
looked after children, regular visits should be carried out, either to the care
setting or at a location which suits the child or young person. Currently the
national standard suggests that children can be seen as little as once in every
3 months. We in Fife accept this is a weakness. If we are to act as corporate
parents to help children maximise their potential, it cannot be achieved on
quarterly visits. We would seek to set out standards far higher than other
local authorities and undertake to engage with children at least once per
month.

7.11. Care Leavers

Local authorities have a duty to prepare young people for ceasing to be
looked after and to provide advice, guidance and assistance for young people
who have ceased to be looked after upon reaching school leaving age.
National figures on looked after children for 07/08 report that only 55% of
young people ceasing to be looked after had a pathway plan (Fife figure
55.8%), and only 57% had a pathway co-ordinator.

The Children’s Commissioner, Sweet 16 Report, 2008 reported that 8 times
more young people leave care at 16 years as opposed to 18 years. In Fife
this figure is less, at 4 times more likely to leave care at 16 years. Young care
leavers have been identified as a particularly vulnerable group in terms of
securing positive outcomes and are at high risk of becoming offenders,
homeless and/or unemployed. Fife Council and partners aim to work
collaboratively to improve the life chances of this group of young people.

7.12. Pathway Planning

A Pathway Plan means a written plan setting out details of the advice,
guidance and assistance that a Local Authority intends to provide pursuant to
it’s duties under section 29(1) or 29(2) of the 19995 Act”.

The purpose of the Pathways materials is to assist young people in preparing
for more independent, adult living. The young person is the most important
person in the assessment and planning process and the way that the
materials are used should reflect this.

The regulations put the involvement of the young person, in completing
pathways plan, as one of their central principles.

A multi-agency Leaving Care Team has been operational in Social Work for a
number of years. Wherever possible the Leaving Care Team engage with
care leavers prior to discharge from care and support young people in
pathway planning. A dedicated housing officer works with care leavers in
preparing for, securing and sustaining accommodation and economic advisers



                                       37
deliver support and opportunities in training, education and employment.
Home care staff also offer housing support to young care leavers.

Responsibility for Pathway Planning currently lies with the Social Work
Service, Leaving Care Team. The aim of the Leaving Care Team is to enable
the young person to make a successful transition to independent adult living.
This means the young person must be empowered to make decisions and
take control of their lives. To do this they must be at the heart of the
assessment and planning process and fully involved in all aspects of their own
Throughcare and aftercare.

Advantages

      The process in young person centred
      Allows the young person to express their hopes for their future in
       relation to any aspect of their life.
      The plan is to promote and raise aspirations and to look toward
       achieving them.
      The plan starts identifying steps towards making those hopes a reality.
      To focus on what the young person is most looking forward to about
       the future.
      To identify any worries that the young person may have around trying
       to achieve their goals.
      To identify supports that may be required, particularly for any additional
       needs that arise because of disability, health needs, etc.
      To allow the young person to reflect on their care experience – to
       consider what worked well and what did not work so well.

Continued engagement with the team is voluntary and young people can and
do disengage and later re-establish links with the team.

The Leaving Care Team currently have 28 supported lodgings placements
and 16 leaving care flats available. Fife placed 48 young people in supported
lodgings during 2008/09 and 84 young people were housed in secure
tenancies. A new residential resource in Kirkcaldy for over 16 year olds is
also available.

7.13. Housing Experience

The Housing record of young people leaving care is widely recognised as
poor and exemplified by common occurrences of homelessness and repeat
homelessness. Scottish Government research linked to Fife operational
experience confirms the likelihood that already disadvantaged young people
will face further disadvantage in attempting to make a successful transition
from care to independent living within our communities.

The Throughcare Partnership is founded on practical joint-working to ensure
that every careleaver in Fife has a sound housing element to the Care Plan.
All young careleavers are provided with a homelessness assessment and are


                                       38
provided with a priority status to access a range of temporary and supported
accommodation options. The Partnership has a seconded Homeless Persons
Officer to co-ordinate the housing input.

The Scottish Government position is that;

       young people leaving care should not be forced to go down the
        homeless route to gain access to housing. Prevention of
        homelessness must be the key focus for Local Authorities and Health
        Boards.
       Young people should not be placed in unsuitable temporary
        accommodation such as homeless hostels
       Further education, training and employment opportunities and
        outcomes for young people need to improve

Fife recognises that the foundation for improving life opportunities must be
built on a range of appropriate and secure accommodation options with
adequate support to sustain independent living.




                                      39
NURTURED having a nurturing place to live, in a family setting with additional help if needed or, where this is not possible, in a
suitable care setting.
Aim/outcome            Activities                                             Indicators                     Timescales /
                                                                                                             Responsible Agencies
Develop a              Support the delivery of NHS Universal Service          Outcome from Early Years       NHS Fife
continuum of           provision by continuing to develop the Health For All  Strategy in relation to looked
support from           Children (Hall 4) approach to universal screening and after children.
pregnancy              surveillance to ensure early identification of
throughout             vulnerable families                                    Outcomes from Children’s       Children’s Services
childhood with                                                                Services Plan                  Group
resources used         Implementation of the Early Years Strategy
more effectively.
Ensure that children Implement the Fife Commissioning Strategy for            Increase proportion of         Social Work
have a wide range of Children and Families                                    purchased placements made
services available,                                                           within Fife
and are                Provide individual packages of family support tailored
accommodated as        to the specific needs of vulnerable children and       Decrease the number of
close to their family  families                                               placements made to high cost
and local community                                                           crisis placements
as possible.
Kinship Care           Introduce kinship care assessments and develop         % of looked after young
                       support mechanisms for carers.                         people living with friends /
                                                                              relatives / other community.
                       Review financial allowance scheme for kinship
                       carers.                                                Number of Kinship Carers of
                                                                              looked after children
                                                                              supported financially by Fife
                                                                              Council




                                                             40
Provide a fostering       Continue to develop the training and support           Reduction in emergency /
service that supports     programme for foster carers that is balanced between   crisis placements.
and develops the          the needs of the carer and individual children’s
skills of foster carers   needs.                                                 Reduction in placement
in addressing                                                                    breakdowns.
individual looked
after children’s                                                                 Reduction in children placed
needs.                                                                           in residential units/schools
                                                                                 whose needs could be met in
Improve placement                                                                foster carer.
stability for looked
after children                                                                   Reduction in 3+ change of
                                                                                 placements
Comply with the U.K
national standards
for Foster Care

Contribute to the
development of
national standards
for adoption
Provide resources in      Review of Family Placement Service including areas     Increase in pool of foster
Fife for LAC that         of recruitment and retention.                          carers
offer a variety , e.g.,
fostering, residential                                                           Number of foster carers
and variety of                                                                   trained in specific issues
placement types                                                                  relating to health and
e.g., respite,                                                                   wellbeing
emergency, short
term, long term.



                                                                  41
Provide foster carers                                                             Number of carers who report
with training and                                                                 confidence in dealing issues
support around                                                                    or in accessing appropriate
understanding and                                                                 support
enhancing the health
and wellbeing of
children in their care.

Improve the               Review the Council’s approach to permanence so          No of Child’s Plans
permanence                that the choice of permanence route followed for a      progressed within timescales
planning process for      child is based on the best interest for the child and
children and reduce       the one most likely to achieve real permanence.
the risk of ‘drifting’

Improve the
permanence
planning process for
LAC.
Adopt a multi-            Initiating pathway planning at an earlier stage and     Number of Pathway Plans
agency approach by        involve all agencies in the pathway planning process.   with positive outcomes.
all agencies in
pathway planning                                                                  Less care leavers
                                                                                  disengaging with services




                                                                     42
8. ACTIVE

Under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC),
children have the right to :

   -   to meet with other children and young people and to join groups and
       organisations as long as this does not stop other people from enjoying
       their rights.

   -   to relax, play and join in a wide range of positive experiences through
       sport, leisure and cultural opportunities.

Supporting every looked after children to achieve their full potential involves a
commitment from parents, carers and professionals. As corporate parents,
promoting the wellbeing of our looked after population includes encouraging
and supporting looked after children to access and participate in activities
within their local community.

Developing the confidence of our looked after population through leisure and
cultural activities not only develops interactive and practical skills, but
encourages them to grow up as motivated young citizens who contribute to
their communities.




                                       43
ACTIVE having opportunities to take part in activities such as play, recreation and sport which contribute to healthy growth
and development, both at home and in the community.
Aim/outcome             Activities                                             Indicators                     Timescales /
                                                                                                              Responsible Agencies
All Looked After        Work closely with Community Learning and               From LAC Reviews – how         Social Work
Children and young      Development and others to deliver more effective       many children and young
people will have        opportunities in leisure sport and cultural activities people participate in leisure,
access to leisure                                                              cultural activities.
and cultural activities Provide a corporate service to looked after children
and be issued with a and carers which includes training and development
route to leisure card opportunities, access to council services, e.g., leisure
and supported and       and sport.
encouraged to be
physically active.

Consideration to be
given to minimising
the financial cost to
the young
person/carer of
accessing council
sports and leisure
and cultural services




                                                              44
9. RESPECTED AND RESPONSIBLE

9.1.   Dialogue Youth

Dialogue Youth has assisted in the roll out of the MyFife card to all 19 High
Schools in Fife (some 22,500 young people). There are now moves to
improve the access to the card for those who do not attend mainstream
schools or have limited attendance.

So far, all 6 Special Needs Schools in Fife have had the opportunity to benefit
from the MyFife card, paying special attention to the Concessionary Travel
and Young Scot discounts on the card. Disability Living Allowance and the
Blue Badge Scheme was also addressed with some families. A Parent Pack
was produced for new arrivals to the schools.

Currently, the roll out is focussing on the 6 Off Campus support schools in
Fife. Initial meetings have been held to set these up. Once this significant
piece of work is complete, the next phase will be to address the MyFife card
needs of Looked After and Accommodated (LAC) young people. Some young
people may have cards, having previously attended or are currently attending
mainstream schools. However, some may have never held a card.

It is anticipated that LAC young people who have lost their cards, no longer
use school buses, or cashless catering can still use the card for various
things. These include the community library, Young Scot discounts for over
12,000 retail outlets including Pizza Hut, D2 the Odeon cinema and driving
lessons, the PASS hologram proves their age if they look younger for buying
DVDs etc. Some LAC young people may never have held a MyFife card. This
can be rectified, and improve access for these young people.

Initial contact has been made with all 5 Residential Houses and 3 private
Residential Houses in Fife for the Scottish wide survey ‘Being Young In
Scotland’. This is a longitudinal survey, starting in 2003 and taking place every
2 years across Scotland. For the first time, LAC young people are being
included in this survey. Once the survey results are known, useful information
will show the hopes and aspirations of the LAC young people in Fife, and their
views and opinions about various issues. This information could lead to
partnership working to achieve some of their goals, and could report through
the Corporate Parenting Group in Fife.

9.2.   Pupil Councils

Almost all schools in Fife have pupil council. These represent the views of
pupils within schools. Pupil councils have considered how best to include
looked after children.

9.3.   The Big Shout




                                       45
The Big Shout is an umbrella organisation which seeks to ensure that children
and young people influence decisions about public services and are active in
improving their communities. The vision is one where all young people,
including the most vulnerable in Fife are able to realise their potential and
participate as active citizens who are valued, understood and involved, and
who know, and can speak about their rights and responsibilities. Everyone
involved in the Big Shout sees young people not as part of the problem in
society, but as part of the solution to improving our quality of life. The work is
structured as follows:-

      Fife’s Youth Forums (locally based youth groups which meet 3 times
       per year to form a larger Fife wide group)
      Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (young people elected by
       their peers to represent them in Scottish Youth Parliament and further,
       debating and developing a youth agenda for Scotland.)
      The Big Challenge (funding opportunities for young people for local
       community projects)
      Young People’s Panel (receive surveys twice a year to give their ideas
       and opinions about various topics)
      Children’s Voices (Children’s Parliament and Early Years)
      Pupil Participation (schools based work linking with issues in their
       communities)

Underpinning these structures is the Children’s Rights Service in Fife and the
Cultural Partnerships Team (Creative Links)

Fife Partnership agreed in August 2007 that the Big Shout would be the main
co-ordination mechanism for consulting with young people.




                                       46
RESPECTED AND RESPONSIBLE having the opportunity, along with carers, to be heard and involved in decisions which
affect them. Having opportunities and encouragement to play active and responsible roles in their schools and communities
and where necessary, having appropriate guidance and supervision.
Aim/outcome          Activities                                         Indicators                      Timescales /
                                                                                                        Responsible Agencies
Developing and
implementing a Fife
Children’s Rights
Strategy that is
relevant and
meaningful to looked
after children.
Acknowledge and      Organise events that celebrate achievements and    Participation of looked after   Corporate Parent Board
celebrate the        consult with the looked after children population. children
achievements of the
LAC population.
Ensure all looked    Improve access to MyFife cards                     No of LAC holding MyFife        Community Services
after children have                                                     cards (special cards)
access to universal
services.
Provide and                                                             Number of looked after          Education Service /
encourage looked                                                        children participating in local Community Services
after children to                                                       youth forums, Big Shout
participate in pupil                                                    initiatives.
councils, youth
forums etc




                                                            47
10. INCLUDED
Looked After Children and young people have the same rights as all
children under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the
Child.

10.1. Advocacy Services

Accessible and responsive independent rights and advocacy support is
available to ensure that the rights of children and young people are
safeguarded and their views and experiences remain are at the forefront of
decision-making activities. Support includes provision of rights information
and advice, individual and group (collective) advocacy support and,
representation of individual and collective rights issues to decision-makers
and decision-making bodies. Children’s rights are further supported by
awareness raising and capacity building activities. Barnardo’s Children’s
Rights Service and Who Cares? Scotland are commissioned to support these
activities in Fife.

10.2. Looked After Children Reviews

Looked after children and young people are encouraged and supported to
attend meetings where professionals discuss and make decisions on plans for
their future. The views of looked after children are sought through ‘Having
Your Say’ and social work reports and minutes include details on the views
expressed to social work staff. In addition recent changes to the invitation
letters sent to professionals include a request that any views expressed by
children are incorporated into their reports or feedback to reviews.

10.3   Family Group Conferencing

Fife, in partnership with Children 1st, has led the way in Scotland in the
development of the use of Family Group Conferencing (FGC) – a way of
empowering families, (including extended family and friends), when key
decisions have to be made about the care of their children. Since 2007,
referral to the FGC Service has been mandatory for social workers under
certain key criteria for children of 10 and under – for example when they are
‘at risk of accommodation’.

The outcomes for children in this group have been very positive – almost all
were still living at home or with extended family a year after a ‘Family Group
Meeting’ had been held. This service will be extended to include young people
of 12 and under from November 2009. Family Group Conferencing works to
enable families to find their own solutions in such situations, and to ensure
that the child is kept at the centre of each decision that has to be made. Fife’s
FGC Service therefore plays a key role in supporting families within Fife.




                                       48
INCLUDED : Having help to overcome social, educational, physical and economic inequalities and being accepted as
part of the community in which they live and learn.
Aim/outcome                       Activities              Indicators                  Timescales/Responsible Agencies
Ensure that all our looked after  Encouraging and         Records held in meetings Social Work
children and young people are     supporting looked after regarding advocacy
fully involved in decisions that  children to participate support provided.
affect them. They have            in meetings.
opportunities to give their views
and experiences and get the       Identifying in advance  Number of looked after      Rights Services
support and advocacy they need if advocacy support is     children consulted per
to do so. Their views are         required and if so, who year.
listened to and respected and     can best provide that
children are confident they are   service.
taken seriously.
                                  Ensuring that all       Increase attendance and     Social Work
                                  children and young      contribution of children at
                                  people have             LAC reviews and
                                  opportunity and are     monitoring of Having Your
                                  supported to complete Say records.
                                  their Having Your Say
                                  Form prior to LAC
                                  Review Meetings,

                                Providing advocacy       Service level agreement   Social Work/Rights Services
                                and representation       monitoring arrangements
                                support through          linked to an agreed
                                independent providers.   outcomes framework.




                                                            49
                                Putting in place a     Consultation events held           Corporate Parent Board
                                process to gather the  with young people (to be
                                views of all young     led by LAC Champion)
                                people in
                                accommodated
                                placements about their
                                placement experiences
                                and how these
                                placements could be
                                improved.

                                Ensuring that all          Number of key-workers          Social Work
                                children and young         recorded
                                people placed in
                                residential resources
                                commissioned by Fife
                                Council have an
                                identified key worker
                                who they know and
                                trust.
Ensure looked after children    Ensuring that individual   Evidence in Child’s Plans      Social Work
have appropriate contact with   care plans support         that progress is made on
family and friends and where    appropriate contact        actions identified by
necessary receive support to    with family and friends    looked after children, e.g.,
maintain that contact.          and that this is a focus   contact with family and
                                of LAC Reviews.            friends.




                                                               50
.



    11. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT – INFORMATION TO BE
    ADDED BY SUBGROUP AND TRAINING SECTION (DISCUSS
           POSSIBILITY OF TRAINING SUB-GROUP)


To be added : Something about listening to frontline workers / staff attitudes –
workforce development (multi-agency training – We Can and Must Do Better)

We Can And Must Do Better: Training in Fife

Along with other agencies the Education service will lead and
participate in a training programme.
Action 6 of Looked After Children and Young People; We Can And
Must Do Better states,
‘We will improve training for parents, foster carers, residential
workers, teachers – including teachers in training – social workers,
health workers and appointed lead professionals’.
Training Outcomes

It is anticipated that effective training will deliver the following outcomes:
      Increased awareness of the educational needs of looked after children
        and young people
      Improved understanding of the reasons for looked after children and
        young people experiencing less successful educational outcomes
      Greater awareness of effective techniques, strategies and approaches
        for supporting looked after children and young people
      More effective multi agency working at strategic and casework/
      Increased understanding of the emotional, mental and physical health
        needs of LAC and how to support these.

     These outcomes should impact on attendance attainment etc …. and
     improve life chances…




                                      51
12. DATA COLLECTION

A reporting framework is proposed which will focus on the fundamentals of
Fife’s looked after population by quarterly reporting on how many, where, why
and are their needs being met. Each agency will be responsible for compiling
core data on each child, from which data will be collected. In the future this
may come from a central repository as mentioned in the GIRFEC literature.
However, for the time being it is incumbent upon the individual services to
ensure that their information is up to date and accurately recorded.

Through this action plan, action will be taken during 2009 to develop a core
data set for looked after children. A complete list of all reporting requirements
will be held centrally and services will be asked to provide details on
information they current hold, what information systems they have in place,
how often information can be reported.

In addition, it is envisaged that a looked after children register, based upon the
successful 24/7 online child protection register will be implemented by 31 st
March 2010. This will give all partner agencies immediate access to
information of all looked after children.




                                       52
 CHECKLIST FOR CORPORATE PARENT MEMBERS – TO BE
                   DEVELOPED

Following the publication of the Fife Corporate Parent Statement, the following
checklist has been developed to aid corporate members in their scrutiny role.

Do we know?

      How many children and young people we have corporate parenting
       responsibility for?

      The reasons why children in Fife are looked after?

      Their profile in terms of gender, race, religion and disability?

      Where our children are looked after?

      Are they safe, and how do we know.

      How many placement and school moves children and young people
       experience whilst being looked after?

      That a clear set of outcomes has been agreed for Looked After
       Children?

      If these outcomes are improving year on year?

      If mechanisms for listening to children have been set up?

      That our services are accessible to disabled children?

      About forums to meet with foster carers on a regular basis?

      What are their health needs and how are these being met ?

      What are their housing needs ?

      What support is being provided to young people moving on to
       independence ?

      How many young people are involved in offending behaviour ?

      What action is being taken to reduce offending behaviour ?

       Ensuring we are valuing diversity and ensuring that our council
       services respect and consider different genders, race and ethnicity,
       culture and traditions, religion, sexual orientation, and social emotional
       and behavioural difficulties and disabilities.



                                        53
      Who is the designated teacher for Looked After Children in each of our
       schools?

      How many Looked After Children there are in each of our schools?

      What arrangements are in place to track their attendance and
       attainment levels?

      What arrangements are in place to ensure that any additional support
       needs have been identified for the Looked After Children in our
       schools? And that appropriate supports are in place to meet these
       needs?

      How many Looked After Children are excluded from our schools?

      Which Looked After Children in our schools are preparing for Standard
       Grade or Higher exams in the coming session?

      How many go on to further or higher education?

      How many go on to full time employment?

      How much is being spent on services for looked after children ?

Corporate Parent members will wish to have this information reported to them
on a regular basis and have mechanisms in place to access this information
easily.




                                      54
REFERENCES (STILL TO BE FINALISED) :

These Are Our Bairns
A guide for community planning partnerships on being a good corporate
parent (September 2008)
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/08/29115839/0
We Can and Must Do Better
Educational Outcomes for Looked After Children and Young People –
Ministerial Working Group Report (January 2007)
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/01/15084446/0
Getting It Right for Every Child
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/01/22142141/0

HMIE How Good is Our Corporate Parenting ? How Good Can We Be ?
http://www.hmie.gov.uk/documents/publication/ischgiocp.pdf

The Educational Outcomes of Scotland’s Looked After Children and Young
People – A New Reporting Framework (Scottish Government 2009)

Valuing Young People – Principles and connections to support
young people achieve their potential – Scottish Government 2009

Fife Integrated Children’s Services Plan

Fife Single Outcome Agreement

Fife Joint Health Improvement Plan

Fife Social Work Service Improvement Plan

Fife Education Service Improvement Plan




                                    55

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:11
posted:5/19/2012
language:
pages:55