Care chief: More must be done for children

Jayne Ivory
Jayne Ivory

DOZENS of youngsters under the care of Wigan Council have been repeatedly moved between placements, new figures reveal.

A report to be considered by local authority bosses has recommended action to help prevent disruption in the lives of looked after children.

A total of 43 young people were moved between placements at least three times during the last year, the report states.

Jayne Ivory, assistant director of target services, recommends that the council should continue to ensure “good matches” are found at the earliest opportunity.

Her report adds: “When placements are made in a hurry from a pool of whoever is available at that time, there’s a fair chance the family and child will not make a strong match – either because of differences in background or culture, or because the child has needs the foster parents are not trained to meet, or because the placement is too far away from the child’s home.

Adding: “Research shows that if a child’s first placement breaks down they are likely to enter a cycle of breakdowns as local authorities move them quickly into another inappropriate placement.”

Ms Ivory goes on to ask members of the council’s children and young person’s scrutiny committee to endorse a review of the children looked after (CLA) placement strategy.

More than 500 children are currently looked after by the council, the report states, with 8.5 per cent classed as having three placement moves within the last 12 months.

Ms Ivory adds: “The majority of our looked after children benefit from loving, stable placements but there are a group of approximately 40 children and young people who grow up in our care system who we are not able to meet their basic need for stability and permanence.”

She concludes: “We must ensure we have the appropriate number of placements to meet the needs of our CLA population particularly focussing on recruitment of foster carers for adolescents and those on the edge of care.”