The Director of Children’s Care and the Head of Looked after children and Corporate Parenting will present the performance scorecard to the Board.
The Head of Looked after Children and Corporate Parenting was in attendance and provided the Board with information relating to the Corporate Parenting Board scorecard.
The Head of Service advised that the scorecard was in place for the Corporate Parenting Board to see how our performance was progressing and have the opportunity to challenge.
The main points to note were as follows:
DEMAND- In February 2021 there were 586 children looked after in the authority. This has reduced to 500 at the end of January 2022. This has been a constant decrease. As of today (15 February 2022) Middlesbrough had 495 children looked after.
· There has been a rapid reduction over the year demonstrating a decrease of 14.6% over the last 12 months and an overall 28.7% reduction since the height of 702 children in September 2020. For every 0.6 children entering care, one child exits care. This ratio has been maintained for 7 months.
· In February 2021 the gap between Middlesbrough’s rate of looked after children per 10,000 of the children population and that of the region was 70.69. This has consistently reduced over the last 12 months and is currently 42.93.
· As of today Middlesbrough’s rate per 10,000 is 149. Our statistical neighbor rate is that of 134.
· Caseloads have consistently reduced since August 2021 and throughout the improvement journey.
· Whilst the average per service area varies slightly, the average caseloads across Children’s social care is currently 16.7. This will support the service to drive improvements in the quality of practice.
· 22 children ceased to be looked after in January 2022 (CHAT 07.02.22).
· Of the children that ceased to become looked after they had spent an average of 104 weeks in care.
· This is a reduction from December 2021 where it took those children who had secured permanence longer.
· Of the 22 children that ceased to be looked after:
Ø 4 were adopted
Ø 6 SGO/Residence Orders
Ø 8 turned 18 years of age
Ø 3 returned to family
Ø 1 other
· Children Placed with Parents - The number of children placed with a parent and subject to a Care Order has reduced significantly since February 2021. There are currently 39 children placed with a parent. This was a 60% overall reduction since the height on 99 children in September 2020. This is supported with a plan which is reviewed.
· Connected Carers – There were currently 105 children in connected carers placements. The overall numbers have reduced from 108 in December 2021. This has reduced from a height of 212 in 2020 (50.4%).
· Adoption - The average number of days from entering care to being placed in an adoptive placement was 380. This has reduced from a height of 558 days in 2019/20 to 382 days in October 2021. (Adoption Score Care data for Q2)
· Less than 5% of the looked after population have experienced a placement breakdown in the last 12 months.
· In January 2021, 9.8% of looked after children had experienced a placement break down in the last 12 months.
· At the end of January 2022 – 37 children looked after by Middlesbrough had experience 3 or move placement moves in the last 12 months. (7.4% of the children looked after population). This has been reduced from 127 in January 2021.
Quality and Impact
94% of children were visited within January 2022 (2% decrease from last month) and 94% of children were seen by their social worker in January 2022 (2% decrease from last month). 83% of looked after children have been seen alone.
94% of looked after children have had a supervision within the month of January 2022.
This is a 2% decrease from last month. This has been consistently high at over 90% for the last 12 months.
Personal Education Plans
Performance in relation to PEPs remains high at 98.9%. This is a 0.7% increase from last month when 98.2% of children had a recorded PEP within the last 6 months. This performance has remained consistently high for the last 12 months.
92.4% of health checks have been conducted and recorded within the last 12 months. This is an increase from 93.1% in December 2021. Performance has been consistently high at over 90% for the last 12 months.
Dental checks – 66.8% of children overall have had a dental check in the last 12 months. This has been a 1.5% decrease since last month.
The Head of Service finally shared ‘what our children tell us’, from feedback, the children were asked to scale their lives between 1 and 4:
Ø 50% of children reported that things had improved for them by 4
Ø 25% of children reported that things had improved for them by 2
Ø 12.5% of children reported that things had improved for them by 1
Ø 12.5% of children reported that things had stayed the same
Children views have been as follows:
‘They take into account my thoughts and feelings’.
‘You do what you say you are going to do. Get things done quickly, I’m not waiting about for things to happen’.
‘There’s not been no false promises. So I feel good’.
A Board Member made a query in relation to the caseload numbers and the reasons for this. In response, the Head of Service advised that the demand was still there but the quality of practice had improved, which meant children are moving through the system quicker and children are securing permanence in a more timely way. On top of this, the Council was working hard to recruit permeant staff and reduce agency staff.
In terms of Corporate Parents, a Board member asked whether all members were invited to attend the meetings. The Democratic Services officer advised all meetings were live streamed and councilors were informed of meetings. The Chair also outlined that she was ensuring that more information sessions were organised for all councilors to inform them of their Corporate Parenting role and inform them of key areas.
The Chair was very thankful for this positive report and thanked all the officers involved in getting this stage.
AGREED- That the information be noted.