As corporate parents, children in care in North Lincolnshire are our children – and it is deeply rooted in the culture of the council and its partner organisations to care about them in this way.
We are collectively ambitious for children in care and we expect their outcomes to be every bit as good as their peers – and better. This ambition is encompassed within our vision for safe children and vulnerable adults, supported families and carers, and transformed lives.
As corporate parents, we demand that our children in care and care leavers achieve great
outcomes, so that:
- Children in care feel safe and are safe
- Children in care enjoy good health and emotional wellbeing
- Children in care recognise and achieve their potential
Every child or young person needs a good parent who looks out for them, speaks out on their behalf and responds to their needs. For children in care and care leavers, this is a statutory role for Local Authorities, including councillors and council officers, who have corporate parenting responsibility. This corporate parenting responsibility is also shared by partners across the Children and Young People’s Partnership. The Corporate Parenting Board brings together these partners to share the responsibility of acting as good Corporate Parents.
Members of the Corporate Parenting Board are responsible for ensuring that the Corporate Parenting Promise (see below) is delivered in North Lincolnshire. This includes committing appropriate resources to fulfil partnership commitments as Corporate Parents.
A child in care is looked after by the council up to the age of 18. They are encouraged to remain living with their carer past this age in ‘Staying Put’ arrangements.
After 18 they cease to be “looked after” but the council continues to have responsibility to provide advice, guidance and assistance until they are 21 (up to 25 if they are in full- time
education or have a learning disability).
In North Lincolnshire, about five out of every 1,000 children are in care at any given time. This is lower than national and statistical neighbours and reflects that we have well developed preventative approaches that support families to stay together.
There is a strong commitment across partners to improving outcomes for our children in
care. Examples of our successes include:
- All looked after children reviews are consistently held within timescale
- All looked after children have an allocated, qualified Social Worker
- All children in care are listened to and share their views regularly
- More care leavers are attending higher education than ever before
- A small minority of children live outside the local authority area – the proportion of children living outside of the area is the lowest for the past four years – it compares favourably with England and statistical neighbours
- Placement stability is good with few children experiencing three placement moves
- All looked after children have an allocated worker from the Education and Inclusion Service
- The majority of North Lincolnshire’s care leavers are in education, employment and training – with rates well above England and Statistical Neighbour comparisons
- Children’s attendance at school is in the top quartile nationally, with few missed days of school and no persistent absence
- There are very few children receiving an exclusion from school in the primary age range
- The large majority of children in care for a year or more achieve two levels of progress in reading, writing and mathematics at Key Stage two
- Few children in care have moved school within the last year
- All children in care have up-to-date health checks, assessments and reviews of their health needs and individual health plans supported by a Designated Looked after Children’s Doctor and Nurse
- All children in care have a ‘Strengths and Difficulties’ (SDQ) questionnaire to assess their emotional health. All children who are assessed as having ‘high’ needs are prioritised for a CAMHS service
As corporate parents we will listen to and take into account the wishes and feelings of every child and young person in our care. The Children in Care Council involves children and young people in care and ensures their voices are heard. Our children and young people in care have a real say in the issues that affect their lives.
Over the last seven years, the Children in Care Council has been fully involved in reviewing services. It meets regularly with the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, the Director of Children and Community Resilience, Independent Reviewing Officers and senior officers from across the council and its partners. The Children in Care Council has been consulted on, been involved with or given feedback on a number of issues.
As Corporate Parents for Children in Care and Care Leavers in North Lincolnshire, we promise to:
- Act in the best interests, and promote the health and wellbeing, of children in care and care leavers
- Encourage children in care and care leavers to express their views, wishes and feelings
- Take into account the views, wishes and feelings of children in care and care leavers
- Help children in care and care leavers gain access to, and make the best use of, services provided by the local authority and its relevant partners
- Promote high aspirations, and seek to secure the best outcomes, for children in care and care leavers
- For children in care and care leavers to be safe, and for stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work
- Prepare children in care and care leavers for adulthood and independent living
To do this we will:
- Ask your views, listen to what you say and act on it
- Support you and give you the information you need to lead a healthy lifestyle
- Support you to feel safe
- Support you to have contact with your family and friends
- Make sure services and support are available to help you to be the best you can be
- Have ambitions for you and support you to achieve your goals
- Have high expectations of you and expect you to act sensibly
- Support you to access the education and training you need and help you develop your skills and achieve your aspirations
- Work with you to support other children and young people who may have had similar experiences
- Provide opportunities for training and work experience and support you to find employment
- Support you and your children while you gain life experience and become independent from us
- Provide an open door for support and advice, whatever your age
- Celebrate your successes and achievements
- Help you be involved in the community
The Multi-Agency Children in Care and Care Leavers Plan is for all local authority workers, partner agencies and their staff to support the delivery of effective services to children in care and care leavers. The plan reaffirms our shared commitment to children and young people in care in North Lincolnshire. It sets out our ambitions and our priorities in working with, and on behalf of, children and young people in care and care leavers.
For children and young people there is an Easy Read version of the plan [PDF, 382Kb].
Ofsted has judged Children in Care, services to Care Leavers, Fostering and Adoption to be Outstanding.
Young people have benefited from opportunities in gaining employment (work opportunities within the council), additional help with their education reflected in their educational attainment and success, living in safe, stable family placements and the opportunity to contribute to the development and delivery of services.
The Local Offer to care leavers revised July 2018 [PDF, 658Kb] tells you about all the help that is available to you as a care leaver. We know that it’s a big step to move to living on your own. We want to make sure that you know where and who to go to for advice and help.
Care leavers helped us design this local offer and we will continue to listen to your views to make sure the services we offer are what you need. We have written this document with care leavers in North Lincolnshire. If there is anything in the document you are not sure about or need further information about, please ask your worker.
A children and young people’s version of the Local Offer to Care Leavers is also available [PDF, 561Kb].