This online forum will provide attendees with the opportunity to discuss innovative ways of supporting looked after children and care leavers. Participants will discuss the last policy developments including the Working Together to Safeguard Children Strategy, updated in 2019.
Participants will hear from key organisations, such as the Department for Education and The APPG for Looked After Children and Care Leavers, on how to ensure that effective support is being provided to looked after children and care leavers.
In addition, best practice case studies will share effective strategies on how to improve the care and education that looked after children receive. This Forum will help delegates to understand how to strengthen their multi-agency working to better support these at-risk children and provide them with the best chance to reach their full potential.
According to the Looked-After Children: The Silent Crisis report published in 2018 by the Social Market Foundation 100,000 children move through the care system each year. Furthermore, The Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield estimated that up to 2.3 million children in England are at significant risk, due to increased pressure on these services and the reduced safety net from schools in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In July 2018 the government published its Working Together to Safeguard Children guide in an attempt to promote multi-agency working to improve the welfare of looked after children. This guidance sets out the legal responsibilities of local authorities, schools, health services and voluntary organisations to encourage these organisations to work in partnership to deliver the best level of care to improve the outcomes of looked after children. The Department for Education also published the Promoting the Education of Looked-After Children and Previously Looked-After Children guide which aims to maximise the educational opportunities open to looked after children through the introduction of roles such as the Virtual School Head.
In July 2016, the Government published the Keep of Caring report that outlined a comprehensive long term strategy to support children transitioning out of care. A key policy commitment in this paper was the creation of the Care Leaver Covenant which aims to provide additional support to young people leaving the care system in order to encourage independence and confidence. Organisations from the private, public and voluntary sector are given the opportunity to commit to offering a support package that can include work placements or internships, one-to-one mentoring schemes, leisure activities or educational training.
It is vital that care providers are working together to safeguard looked after children and care leavers to ensure they have the best chance in life. With almost 25% of the adult prison population consisting of individuals who have previously been in care, it is vital that services provide looked after children and care leavers with the best chance of breaking the cycle and improving their outcomes.
*Please note to comply with the latest public health guidance around Covid-19, this conference will run entirely via an online platform. Specific joining instructions and guidance will be provided to registered delegates
- Outlining the current landscape of services aimed at Looked After Children and Care Leavers, including the impact of Covid-19
- Highlighting the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Looked After Children and Care Leavers including supporting LGBTQ+ children in care and promoting access to health services
- Understanding the importance of partnership and collaboration across the public and voluntary sector in order to provide effective services for children in care
- Examining the current challenges facing care services and ensuring that children are given an equal opportunity to succeed, including improving the education and healthcare provisions available to them
- Highlighting the importance of a multi-agency approach to safeguarding and exploring the key needs that children and care leavers experience
- Exploring how a co-ordinated approach to supporting care leavers can help local authorities and agencies to deliver their key role and identify any concerns early
- Sharing best practice on how local authorities and agencies can establish a multi-agency approach to promote welfare of care leavers
- Outlining the health inequalities that exist for Looked After Children and Care Leavers and how public sector organisations need to coordinate services to provide supportive services for these vulnerable children and young people
- Understanding the importance of appropriate education and training for practitioners to ensure they are able to support the specific needs of looked after children and care leavers
- Sharing the journey five years on from the publication of the Looked After Children: Knowledge, Skills and Competences of Health Care Staff framework
- Discussing the need for an improved transition between child and adult services for care leavers and how improved training could increase understanding of the complex needs of this vulnerable group
Cllr Shirley Reynolds, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education and Lifelong Learning will be discussing how Telford and Wrekin Council went from ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2016, to ‘Outstanding’ in 2020 for their Children’s Care Service.
This session will also outline how these improvements were driven by strong corporate leadership, as well as embedding a learning culture across the council where social workers were invested and able to train others in the service.
- Examining the information that should be contained in Personal Education Plans (PEP), including up-to-date progress data and personalised learning targets that are detailed and set out specific goals on how these targets can be reached
- Assessing how Virtual School Heads can work in partnership with local schools to manage looked after children and help monitor the progress of PEP, resulting in 72% of looked after children meeting the expected standards of English and Maths
- Exploring the key challenges facing looked after children in an education setting, including frequent school moves and a higher likelihood of having complex emotional needs as a result of trauma or abuse
- Highlighting the importance of having a designated teacher within a school who is responsible for promoting the educational achievement of looked after children, including providing a constant source of support
- Understanding the role of local authorities in improving the care provisions of looked after children and care leavers by working with education institutions and health services to provide joined-up support
- Exploring how local authorities can help to reduce the amount of children entering care in the first instance by implementing proactive policies to support at-risk families
- Outlining the importance of understanding the views of children when designing children’s care systems to ensure that they are tailored to the needs of children
- Discussing how councils can ensure that no children are left behind when transitioning between pre and post-16 services and are supported as care leavers
- Discussing the State of the Nation’s Foster Care 2019 report, including 48% of carers revealing that they are caring for a child with mental health needs that are not receiving specialist support
- Highlighting the need for a learning and development framework that can support foster carers to be able to care for children that have complex needs as a result of past trauma
- Exploring the importance of ensuring stability for children in foster care, including how a child’s psychological and emotional state may be compromised by an unexpected move, and how local authorities should increase their work to prevent this
- Examining the current attitudes towards fostering from carers, including only 51% saying that they would recommend fostering to others and the steps that can be taken to increase the number of foster carers, including receiving adequate support
- Sharing research around the disproportionate numbers of care leavers and looked after children in the youth justice system, and exploring how and why criminalisation of these children exist
- Discussing the relationship between children in care and offending, such as a lack of support network, loneliness and unsuitable housing situations
- Exploring the Criminal Justice Project, set up by the Care Leavers Association (CLA) which works to highlight the needs of care leavers in criminal justice settings
- Highlighting the CLAs user led peer networks in prisons across the country, the work with PCCs and regional policy and practice developments
- Outlining how the Care Leaver Progression Partnership was established to encourage partnership working within Kent and Medway to better understand and remove the barriers to further education for care leavers
- Understanding how this partnerships brings together local universities, colleges, local authorities, virtual schools and training providers to improve education provisions for looked after children
- Exploring the key barriers to post-16 education for care leavers including funding, expectations and prior attainment
- Discussing how Universities can work with local schools and colleges to improve links between institutions to facilitate higher education progression rates
- Outlining how Humankind were commissioned by Gateshead Council to provide drug and alcohol misuser services to young people including educating children on the risks of substance abuse
- Discussing the benefits of dedicated services for groups of adults and groups of young people to cater to differing needs and offer early intervention services for at risk children
- Understanding the importance of tailoring substance misuse services for young people and ensuring that approaches are based around education young people so they are able to make informed choices
- Sharing the success of this programme in reducing drugs and alcohol misuse for young people in the area and expanding services to create more bespoke work within the LGBTQ+ community
*programme subject to change
This Forum is specifically designed for the Local Government, Health Sector, Education Sector and Voluntary Sector. Typical job titles will include:
- Virtual Head Teachers
- Social Workers
- Head of Services for Looked After Children
- Heads of Care Planning
- Operations Managers for Care Services
- Heads of Child Services
- Adoptions Services Managers
- Public Sector Rate£295 +VAT
- Voluntary Sector Rate£245 + VAT
- Private Sector Rate£395+VAT