CWN - News & Information for Coventry & Warwickshire 20x21spacer.gif (59 bytes)What's New?Search CWN
Foster Service Gets Thumbs Up

Warwickshire County Council’s foster care service has been given the thumbs up following a rigorous review.

A seven-month Best Value review of Warwickshire’s Family Placement Service (fostering) found the service to be sound and that the council had invested wisely in it.

The review recommended the service continue to be provided by the council’s Social Services Department together with a series of improvements to the service.

The review was overseen by a steering group, of county council officers and a representative from the government’s Social Services Inspectorate, and a six-strong councillor panel.

Trish Haines, Director of Warwickshire Social Services, said:

“I am very pleased that this rigorous review found that we provided a sound service.

“I was particularly glad to learn that, overall, young people in our care saw fostering as a positive experience and that carers enjoyed their work.

“However, the review also flagged up a number of areas of improvement, and we are currently putting together proposals to address these.

“For example, we need to review payments to ensure that we continue to recruit and retain foster carers.

”We need to find ways of offering a wider variety of foster placements and to speed up assessment of potential carers.”

The review was examined by the council’s Social Care and Inclusion Scrutiny and Review Committee.

Cllr Richard Hobbs, Chairman of the Committee, said:

“As corporate parents, it is important that councillors are aware of all the issues within the fostering service.

“The review highlighted the very valuable work of foster carers and Social Services staff, but it also revealed areas for improvement and we will be monitoring this to see what progress is made in these areas.

“Members of the committee were involved in interviewing staff, foster carers and looked after young people for the review and they found this a very valuable experience.”

This is the second of three Best Value reviews taking place in Social Services. The reviews check that the council is offering the best quality service at a reasonable cost.

The review found:

  • Overall, young people saw fostering as a positive experience. High levels of satisfaction were recorded amongst foster carers. Staff thought the department had good carers for most of the population.
  • Looked-after young people wanted more time with social workers and more information at the time of their placements. Foster carers raised the issue of pressure on social workers’ time to provide support; they wanted more joint training with social workers, and they wanted a review of allowances. Staff wanted greater placement choice.
  • The service compared well with other local authorities. Warwickshire has one of the highest proportion of children placed in family placements in the country. 98% of those foster care placements came from the internal service.
  • The costs of external placements (with foster carers from outside agencies) were shown to be two-and-a-half times as much as placements with county council foster carers.
  • There is a need to speed up assessment and approval of potential carers.
  • Previous investment in 1997 has put the service in a good, strong position.
  • The market is not yet strong enough for external competitors to offer a competitive bid to provide an alternative service. Current payments cover the cost of caring for looked after children and young people but do not reward carers.

Warwickshire has 239 foster homes; on 1 October 1999, 234 children were looked after by the local authority; in 1999-2000 the council spent £4.2 million on the foster care service.

MORE INFORMATION: Simon Lord  01926 410410

1x22rule.gif (89 bytes)
Warwickshire County Council - Our County 1998-2001

150x15more.gif (274 bytes)


Find an old School Friend on CWN

CWN / Politics / Warwickshire County Council / 11 Apr 00

©1995-2000 Coventry Internet Developments Ltd

This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM