Children in care and care leavers are our children and it is our role as corporate parents to ensure they are supported, nurtured and helped to be and feel safe, have aspirations, achieve their potential and grow into confident young people and adults.
This Sufficiency Statement supports our ambition for our children, the outcomes we aspire to achieve, our intentions and actions which are aligned with the Children in Care and Care Leavers Strategy. It sets out our commitment to place children in care at the heart of all we do as a Council, and to fulfil our role as corporate parents.
Ensuring our children in care can live and grow up in a safe and stable home is critical to their wellbeing and securing their positive development. We also know that when children leave care and transition to independence they require secure good quality housing.
In our recent ‘Brightspots’ Survey (2020) 78% of care leavers responded ‘mainly yes’ to the question ‘Is where you live now right for you?’ which compared well to their peers in Warrington (83%) who had not been cared for by the local authority. However, as a local authority we aspire to improve our offer to both children in our care and care leavers.
The purpose of this sufficiency statement is to ensure, that wherever possible, children in care and care leavers live in and grow up in homes with carers who can meet their needs.
The statement is refreshed each year to reflect changes to our child in care population and to ensure we can meet new challenges – for example, the changes in our number of children in care, our improved understanding and response to Contextual Safeguarding and the rising numbers of unaccompanied asylum seeking children due to Warrington’s location. It will also demonstrate our commitment to continuing innovation, changing our own provision to meet need, seeking opportunities for joint working with partners, training and recruiting new foster carers.
We want to ensure that we have a service which is responsive and flexible to the ever changing landscape in which children live and professionals work. Our role and focus is to make sure those children in care, children on the edge of care and care leavers are happy, healthy and secure. Having the right choice placements, strong attachments and relationships with their carers, is central to their sense of well-being and supporting them to reach their potential.
We have some exciting developments taking place over the next 12 months, following the Department of Education awarding Warrington innovation funding for the ‘Mockingbird’ project and the implementation of a ‘No Wrong Door’ Hub.
We continue to recognise that no one service or agency can by itself provide all the support needed by children in care. All professionals and agencies working with children and young people in care alongside Elected Members have a ‘corporate parenting’ responsibility. As a ‘whole Council’ we are fully committed to getting the best for our children in care and Care Leavers. We are committing by developing and supporting this statement to ensure effective arrangements and actions are taken to meet the accommodation needs of children in care.