Agenda and minutes

Corporate Parenting Committee
Tuesday, 17th September, 2019 4.00 pm

Venue: Committee Suite 1,2 & 3, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ. View directions

Contact: Julie Zientek  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

16.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors R Bailey and D Flude.

17.

Declarations of Interest

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

18.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held on 18 June 2019 be approved as a correct record.

19.

Corporate Parenting Update from Elected Members

To receive a verbal update from members of the Committee.

Minutes:

The Vice-Chairman reported that she and the Chairman had been to the Children’s Conference, which was very well attended.

 

There was nothing to report from the work streams this time.  Officers would be producing a proposal, including a calendar of events, and delivering further training.  Committee members would also be DBS checked.  In addition, a template would be circulated to enable Members to update the pen profiles which outlined their interests, and which were appreciated by the young people.

20.

Update from Children and Young People

To receive an update from children and young people.

Minutes:

The Acting Head of Service for Cared for Children and Care Leavers reported that he had met with My Voice, the children in care council, the previous week.  The children and young people were looking forward to the Star awards event, which was taking place at Tatton Park on Sunday 24 November.

21.

Fostering Panel Annual Report pdf icon PDF 439 KB

To consider the Fostering Panel Annual Report for 2018-19 and to receive a presentation.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Annual Report of the Fostering Panel for 2018-19, presented by the Acting Head of Service for Cared for Children and Care Leavers.

 

The recruitment of foster carers was a significant national issue.  Cheshire East Council was a member of Foster4, a collaborative project which recruited foster carers on behalf of the four Cheshire Local Authorities.  However, there was a need for a 10 – 15% increase in foster carers in Cheshire East in the next 3 – 4 years.  It was intended to undertake a review of fostering services, including the next steps and support for foster carers.

 

In response to questions from Members, it was reported that:

 

·            ‘Mockingbird’ was being developed to provide more support to foster carers, with a foster carer in the middle of a hub supporting 6 – 8 others.  A social worker had recently been recruited, to provide stability.

 

·            Cheshire East Fostering Panel members undertook training during the year.

 

·            There was currently no Elected Member on the Fostering Panel.

 

·            The membership of the Fostering Panel included a foster carer, and the number of social workers on the Panel had increased.

 

RESOLVED - That the report and its conclusions be noted.

 

22.

Corporate Parenting Committee Annual Report 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the Corporate Parenting Committee Annual Report for 2018-19.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the Annual Report of the Committee for 2018-19, which highlighted progress and achievements, and set out priorities for the forthcoming year.

 

The Committee also considered a proposed amended version of its Terms of Reference, which had been discussed at the Committee’s last meeting, on 18 June 2019.

 

During the discussion and in response to points raised by the Committee it was reported that:

 

An elected Member was to be sought for the proposed governing body for the Virtual School.  Officers would send Members details of the requirements and level of commitment, and request expressions of interest.

 

The Acting Head of Service for Cared for Children and Care Leavers would report to the next meeting regarding the use of leisure centres by cared for children.

 

RESOLVED

 

That

 

(a)  the Annual Report of the Corporate Parenting Committee for 2018-19 be noted.

 

Cabinet be recommended to receive the Corporate Parenting Committee Annual Report for 2018-19 and approve the amended Terms of Reference subject to an amendment to include ‘visits’ in paragraph 4.

23.

Corporate Parenting Update and Scorecard pdf icon PDF 252 KB

To consider the update report and scorecard.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report providing an update on national and local developments in relation to cared for children and young people and care leavers.  The report aligned with the pledges of the Corporate Parenting Strategy.

 

With regard to the Quarter 1 Corporate Parenting Scorecard, the report detailed areas of concern and what was being done to address them.  The Acting Head of Service for Cared for Children and Care Leavers agreed that further information relating to the meaning of each column could be included next time.

 

During the discussion and in response to points raised by the Committee it was reported that:

 

·            In relation to Pledge 2 (Education, Employment and Employment Outcomes), 7 cared for young people were now going to university, 1 to an apprenticeship and one was starting work.

 

·            Support was provided during university vacations by maintaining foster placements, arranging other placements or by securing accommodation at universities.  Support would also be provided for those continuing in higher education.

 

·            In relation to Pledge 3 (Achieving Permanence and Keeping Children Safe Being a Good Corporate Parent), delays in being able to confirm a plan of permanence could be the result of extended care proceedings.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the report be noted.

24.

Exclusion of the Public and Press

To consider passing a resolution under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the public and press from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information in accordance with paragraphs 1 and 2, pursuant to part 1 of Schedule 12 (A) of the Act.

Minutes:

RESOLVED - That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items pursuant to Section 100(A) 4 of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 and public interest would not be served in publishing the information.

25.

Children's Rights Annual Report

To consider the Cheshire East Children’s Rights Service Annual Report for 2018.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Cheshire East Children’s Rights Service Annual Report for 2018, which provided an overview of the Children’s Rights and Advocacy Service delivered by the Children’s Society for Cheshire East.

 

During the discussion and in response to points raised by the Committee it was reported that:

 

·            Corporate parents could not be Independent Visitors.

 

·            Independent Visitors and young people were introduced at a match meeting, but they did not have to continue if they did not get on.

 

·            Training and support were offered for volunteers.

 

·            In cases where communication had broken down in a placement, an advocate would liaise with the young person.

 

·            There was training and support available for social workers, and the Children’s Society had been training social workers on children’s rights

 

RESOLVED - That the report be noted.

26.

Focus Report on Permanency and Keeping Children Safe (Pledge Three)

To consider the above report.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report providing an update on progress, impact and developments in relation to Pledge Three of the Corporate Parenting Strategy (‘We will work to achieve permanence and keep children safe’).

 

Members noted that:

 

·                The number of Cared for Children had increased, but there had also been an increase in the number of discharges.

 

·                Ignition Panel enabled young people to talk about what they wanted in terms of housing and support.

 

·                With regard to foster care, 36 young people had been matched on a long term basis.

 

·                A stability practice lead had been recruited, and foster carers attended stability meetings, of which there had been 16 during the quarter.

 

·                There had been a focus on criminal exploitation and child sexual exploitation, and a strategic approach was being developed.

 

RESOLVED - That the report be noted.