Improving placement stability for looked after children

Keywords

  • children and young people
  • commissioning
  • early intervention and prevention
  • providers

Date: July 2010

Type: Scoping study, case studies

 

This report presents the findings of a scoping study conducted by the Commissioning Support Programme, of which IPC is a partner organisation, to look for links between the way local authorities organised placement finding for looked-after children and young people, and the stability of the ensuing placements.  Statistics for all local authorities over a five-year period were examined, and well and poorly performing councils identified and contacted. Key findings are presented, based on responses from 16 above-average and 13 below-average authorities; they identify those factors held to have an impact on improved placement stability.

Factors consistent with increased stability included:

  • Having referrals ‘project managed’ by someone other than the social worker.
  • Appointing an individual or a team as an independent ‘broker’ to look for suitable placements – this proved successful in terms of producing a better choice of placements and making cost savings.
  • The person managing referral and placement finding having good market knowledge.
  • Quality checking of referrals.
  • Having an approved list of foster carers who can be emailed simultaneously rather than contacted sequentially.

The evident success of the brokerage model led to a follow-up study based on more in-depth interviews with the better-performing authorities, and the report presents studies of brokerage models adopted by two councils, examining issues including:

  • The make-up and remit of the brokerage team.
  • How it operates.
  • Benefits for social workers – including freeing up their time to concentrate on social care.
  • Budgetary savings targeted and the cost-effectiveness of the model in practice.
  • Strengths in providing placement choice and the benefits – including financial – of ‘getting it right first time’.
  • Overcoming quality monitoring problems.

For further information please contact Katy Burch at IPC

Email: ipc@brookes.ac.uk

Tel: 01225 484088