14 June 2016
A SYSTEM of education champions – foster carers specially trained to support other carers to navigate the education system and support the learning of children in their care – should be rolled out across the country. This is one recommendation of the final report of the London Fostering Achievement pilot intended to help raise the educational outcomes of children in care. The joint project, launched in 2014 by the Fostering Network and Achievement for All, helped improve writing attainment and enabled foster carers to be more assertive in securing additional support and services for the children in their care.
CYPNow reports that Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield plans to establish a stability index for children in care that will capture details of how often a child moves placements or has a change in social worker. The information will highlight variations across the country, Longfield told the All Party Parliamentary Group’s inquiry into children’s social care which is due to report in early 2017.
Journalist and care leaver Jack Brookes writes in Community Care that sometimes police involvement in stopping criminal behaviour among teenagers in care is necessary – and even beneficial. His article follows last month’s report by the Prison Reform Trust into the criminalisation of children in care (TWiF 24 May).
Meanwhile the Care Leavers’ Association highlighted how one care leaver had successfully campaigned for a police issued final warning gained while she was a child in care to be removed from her record. After endless emails and phone calls she finally received a letter from the chief constable of Sussex saying that she had made a compelling case for it to be deleted from her file.
Three-quarters of children are failing to get the help they need to tackle mental health problems according to a report from the Centre for Mental Health. Young people leaving the care system, those who are in the criminal justice system and those not in education, employment or training are at highest risk of poor mental health the report confirms. Mental health was also an area where the UK government was criticised by the UN committee on children’s rights for the impact that its fiscal policies were having on the most disadvantaged children.
On a more positive note, 12 foster carers were celebrated in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Among them were Surrey couple John and Wendy Palczynski who care for children with complex health problems and Sunderland carers Emma and Tommy O’Connor who have fostered for 50 years.
Journalist and foster carer Martin Barrow tweeted this example of poor practice among one of his local secondary academy schools that claimed their academy status meant that they didn’t need a protocol for children in care and prospective adopter Hopeful Dad explores what is meant by early permanence – or fostering to adopt.