New measures are being introduced to improve how vulnerable children are looked after in Staffordshire.
An Ofsted inspection of children’s social care services published recently confirmed the county council had retained its overall rating of ‘Good’ – one of only three in the West Midlands to achieve this rating.
But the authority is pushing ahead with initiatives to further improve how it helps youngsters.
Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: “Ofsted’s finding of ‘Good’ is a tremendous achievement when one considers the increasing numbers of children needing support at a time when funding from the Government simply isn’t keeping pace with the cost of providing these specialised services.
“But we know we can still make improvements and we’re committed to focusing on prevention, early intervention and keeping more children out of care when it is safe to do so.”
The new initiatives include:
• greater help for 16 and 17-year-olds who are homeless;
• more specific work to help care leavers, particularly those not in employment, training, or education;
• greater coordination with partners;
• increased focus on achieving long-term arrangements for children as quickly as possible;
• better use of analysis arising from interviews with children who go missing from home, or care.
In the last 10 years the number of children in Staffordshire who are receiving support from children’s services has risen by 1,143 to 1,912, with the cost of caring for the most vulnerable increasing from £58 million to £110.8 million.