Agenda item

Brent Fostering Service Quarterly Monitoring Report 1st April - 30th June 2017

The purpose of this report is to provide information to the Council’s Corporate Parenting Committee about the general management of the in-house fostering service and how it is achieving good outcomes for children. This is in accordance with standard 25.7 of the Fostering National Minimum Standards (2011). The report covers the first quarter of this reporting year.

Minutes:

Kelli Eboji (the Council’s Principal Officer, LAC and Permanency) introduced the report which provided Members with information on the recent outcomes and overall management of the Council’s Fostering Service for the first quarter of the new reporting year (Q1).

 

She ran through the key details within the report, and began by highlighting that in Q1 the numbers of unaccompanied asylum seeking children who had approached Brent for support had stabilised and levelled-off. She explained that the Fostering Service had carried out 7 recruitment focused activities in order to raise awareness of fostering and to encourage more people to come forward as potential foster carers. Members heard that this recruitment drive had mainly taken place through ‘Fostering Fortnight’ and that the service had organised information stalls in Wembley and on Kilburn High Road. She noted that this had drawn 59 enquiries from members of the public and had resulted in 12 formal assessments as of 30 June 2017. She concluded by mentioning that the Fostering Panel had recommended five new fostering households for approval and that it was encouraging that this meant that the target had been met for the quarter.

 

Questions arose on the service values for 2017-2018 (as set out in section 3 of the report) and it was queried why the values were different on this occasion from the previous quarterly monitoring report. Nigel Chapman stated that a more coherent cross-directorate plan had been developed for the new reporting year which drew together outcome targets across all of the different service areas which affected LAC. Gail Tolley added that a senior management restructure within the Children and Young People’s Department at the Council had reframed the department for future success and this had been reflected through an updated service plan. A Member of the Committee commented that the service values for 2017-2018 were an improvement, but that it would be important that progress on the values was monitored closely.

 

On training and support for foster carers, a Member questioned why there had been a drop in training spaces offered since the last reporting period. Nigel Chapman posited that this was likely to be because the courses during Q1 were more specialist in content. He explained that more general training courses, such as First Aid Training, tended to draw a higher degree of interest from a wider range of foster carers. He confirmed that the drop in numbers had not been caused from training being cut back and highlighted that the number of sessions offered between quarters had remained the same.

 

A specific question was asked on how long the Fostering Development Co-Ordinator role had been vacant. Kelli Eboji outlined that the role had been vacant since the end of June 2017 but that the job description had been cleared and that the advertising process for recruitment to the post would begin imminently.

 

A Member of the Committee questioned why 5 annual reviews for foster carers had been cancelled (as set out under paragraph 9.1 of the report). Kelli Eboji said it was often the case that more information had been needed prior to be able to inform the review, but confirmed that the cancelled annual reviews had now taken place. 

 

A representative from CIA questioned what the recruitment target for fostering placements would be for 2017-2018. Kelli Eboji stated that the target was for 20 fostering placements within the reporting year and re-iterated that five households had been recruited already.

  

It was RESOLVED that the content of the report be noted.

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