Peterborough City Council is proposing the development of a new service, which would secure permanent long-term placements as quickly as possible for a range of young people who are looked after.
The service would also improve training and support available to foster carers and adopters, as part of the council’s plans to improve services for its children and young people in care.
The council has said it intends to explore partnership arrangements with a specialist provider, which could allow for such a new service to be established in Peterborough.
Currently, both fostering and adoption services are performing well, say the council.
Adoption services in Peterborough were rated as good by Ofsted earlier in 2015 – and, regionally, the city has one of the lowest rates of moving young people once in foster care.
The new proposals aim to build on this success – and it is hoped a new partnership will increase the number of foster carers looking after teenagers, as well as speeding up the process to identify long-term placements for children and young people with more challenging care needs.
Corporate director, people and communities, Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, said:
“The overall ambition is to place a higher percentage of young people in care with our own local foster carers.
“We know our local carers well and therefore we can better match the needs of our children in care – and help keep these children close to the city to maintain vital relationships with family and friends.
“This will also enable us to reduce expenditure on higher cost placements, helping the council to achieve savings, and enabling investment in other services for children, young people and their families.
“By delivering a service as efficiently as possible, in partnership with a specialist organisation, it will allow us to protect prevention and early help services in the city, such as youth work and early years’ services.
“It will also increase our current capacity in recruiting, training and supporting our own foster carers and adopters.
“This is a way of helping to give to our foster carers what they have told us they need. They want a greater level of training and on-going support – and when they are looking after more challenging children in care, they need practical out of hours support on a 24/7 basis.”
Peterborough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Andy Coles, said:
“We all know that these are times of austerity. This means that public services have to think and do things differently if we are to continue to improve outcomes and be more efficient.
“That is why we will be exploring how new ways of working with specialist partners could be used to benefit the children and young people that need our help, as well as our own foster carers and adopters.
“Any partnership to develop a new service will have to prove to us that it can exceed the quality of delivery offered by our existing adoption and fostering services.”
”It’s expected that the service will be put out to competitive tender early in 2016.”
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