Agenda and minutes

Children's Social Care and Health Cabinet Committee
Tuesday, 8th September, 2015 1.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Theresa Grayell  03000 416172

Media

Items
No. Item

77.

Apologies and Substitutes

To receive apologies for absence and notification of any substitutes present

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence had been received from Mr M J Vye. Mr S J G Koowaree was present as a substitute for Mr Vye. 

78.

Declarations of Interest by Members in items on the Agenda

To receive any declarations of interest made by Members in relation to any matter on the agenda.  Members are reminded to specify the agenda item number to which it refers and the nature of the interest being declared

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr S J G Koowaree declared an interest as his grandson was in the care of the County Council.

79.

Minutes of the meeting of this committee held on 22 July 2015 pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To consider and approve the minutes as a correct record.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of this committee held on 22 July 2015 are correctly recorded and they be signed by the Chairman. There were no matters arising.

80.

Minutes of the meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel held on 18 June 2015 pdf icon PDF 153 KB

To note the minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Corporate Parenting    Panel held on 18 June 2015 be noted.

 

2.            The Chairman said she was looking into the possibility of the Panel’s minutes being sent to full Council for information, as well as to this committee, as at present.  This would reinforce and raise the profile of the corporate parenting role of all elected Members. The Democratic Services Officer undertook to look into this.

 

81.

Meeting Dates for 2016/2017

To note that the following dates have been reserved for the committee’s meetings in 2016/17:-

 

Friday 22 January 2016

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Friday 13 May 2016

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Thursday 10 November 2016

 

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Thursday 23 March 2017

 

All meetings will commence at 10.00 at County Hall.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the dates reserved for meetings of this committee in 2016 and early 2017 be noted, as follows, all meetings to commence at 10.00 at County Hall:-

 

Friday 22 January 2016

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Friday 13 May 2016

Tuesday 5 July 2016

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Thursday 10 November 2016

 

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Thursday 23 March 2017

 

 

82.

Verbal updates pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To receive a verbal update from the Cabinet Members for Specialist Children’s Services and Adult Social Care and Public Health, the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing and the Director of Public Health.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            Mr P J Oakford gave a verbal update on issues relating to unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC):-

 

a)    Kent had a large number of UASC, currently 731 (having increased from 368 since March 2015). However, the rate of arrivals had very recently slowed down slightly, for the first time in a very long while;

 

b)    there were currently two reception centres being used to accommodate UASC – Millbank and Swattenden - and one other very shortly to come into use – the former Ladesfield Care Home in Whitstable;

 

c)    almost all UASC were young men and these centres were all exclusively for them. There were very few girls among the numbers, and any girls arriving would be placed with foster carers until they were 18, rather than in a centre; 

 

d)    plans to use the Ladesfield building had been leaked by local media and had attracted hostile and unpleasant reactions on social media and from local residents.  600 complaints about its use had been received within 24 hours of the news being leaked;

 

e)    news of the intention to use the Swattenden centre at Appledore had been carefully managed and local reaction there had been much better. A select number of media representatives had been taken to visit the Millbank centre to see the basic but good facilities there, and the County Council had made a film about the work of the centre. No cameras had been permitted at this visit, and reporting rules had been very stringent, so the reporting of issues could be controlled. The media were able to hear at first hand from the young men housed there, to show the reality of their situation. UASC had stated their priorities as being to feel that they were safe, to know that their families were safe, and to join and contribute to Kent society; and

 

f)     there had been much support from local residents who wanted to work with the UASC, and sympathy for their situation, following recent media coverage.  A local teacher and a football coach had both offered their time free of charge to mentor UASC. The public had offered donations of clothes and bedding for use at the centre, but these were not needed.  Donations of games and sports equipment would be useful. Some people had offered to accommodate UASC in their homes, and these people would need to go through the process of becoming fosters carers.

 

2.            In response to a request for committee Members to be able to see the film about the work of the centre, Mr Oakford undertook to send a link to Members, and this was subsequently done.

 

3.            Mr A Ireland then gave a verbal update on the following issues:-

 

Update on Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children – 176 new UASC had arrived over a six week period but the situation was now fairly quiet. However, the consistently high numbers of arrivals through the rest of the year had placed a great strain on the service at a time  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82.

83.

Kent Teenage Pregnancy Strategy 2015 - 2020 pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health and the Director of Public Health, and to consider and endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member on the proposed decision to approve the Kent Teenage Pregnancy Strategy 2015 – 2020.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr C Thompson, Consultant in Public Health, was in attendance for this item.

 

1.            Mr Thompson introduced the report and explained that the strategy had been prepared to address the ongoing challenge of reducing rates of teenage pregnancy across Kent. The Cabinet Committee had considered an earlier draft of the strategy and asked that it be amended to take full account of the recommendations of the PSHE/Children’s Health Select Committee, which had reported in 2007. The Children’s Health and Wellbeing Board had also asked that the strategy include data for the under-18 conception rates and the rate of abortions, by district. Mr Thompson, Mr Scott-Clark and Dr Khan responded to comments and questions from Members, including the following:-

 

a)    the quality and content of PSHE teaching in secondary schools across Kent was inconsistent and did not include teaching about emotional development and relationships. Mr Scott-Clark agreed that good PHSE teaching, including emotional development, was essential, but must be supported by good service provision, to which young people could be signposted. For example, a mobile phone App made information easy to access. Improving the quality of PSHE teaching was a key priority for the school nursing service.  Mr Thompson added that Belgium and the Netherlands both had very low rates of teenage pregnancy and very robust sexual health education in school;

 

b)    an opinion was expressed that PSHE classes should be taught by suitably-qualified staff, preferably from outside the school, as young people often found it uncomfortable to be taught PSHE by a teacher who also taught them other subjects;

 

c)    young people needed to be given a realistic picture of parenting and the huge commitment this represented. Asking teenage parents to visit schools and colleges to talk to students about their experiences would help this.  A scheme in which young people helped at a local toddler group was another way of showing them the reality of looking after small children. In another scheme, teenagers were asked to take home and look after a computerised baby doll which was programmed to cry until given appropriate care and attention;

 

d)    the rate of abortions among teenagers in some areas of the county was also a matter of concern. The emotional and physical impact of abortion also needed to be made clear, and may help deter young women from becoming pregnant. Post-abortion counselling was also important, as well as building resilience, so young women felt confident and able to say no to sex. Mr Scott-Clark clarified that post-abortion counselling and contraception were both part of the new sexual health service.  Building emotional resilience was supported by the emotional health and wellbeing service;

 

e)    teenage parents needed to be deterred from having a second child.  Families might manage to support one baby, financially and in terms of childcare while a young mother returned to school or college, but would struggle much more and would possibly not be able to cope with the additional burden of a second child;

 

f)     contraception did not seem to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83.

84.

Children's Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health services - update pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing and to note the new whole-system approach to emotional wellbeing and mental health, leading up to a Cabinet Member decision in autumn 2015 on the award of contract.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ms K Sharp, Head of Public Health Commissioning, Ms C Infanti, Commissioning Officer, Strategic Commissioning, and Ms J Hook, Commissioning Manager, were in attendance for this item.

 

1.            Ms Sharp introduced the report and explained that the Kent Emotional Wellbeing Strategy for Children, Young People and Young Adults (0-25) had been the subject of extensive consultation with children and young people and had been discussed in a number of forums, most recently at the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) on 4 September.  A key part of the new model was the emphasis on emotional resilience as well as mental health. Delivery of the new strategy was on track and tendering for contracts would commence in autumn 2015. Ms Sharp, Ms Infanti and Ms Hook responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-

 

a)    a significant change in the new emotional wellbeing strategy was that services would now be focussed on delivery in universal settings, schools and hubs, making it easier for children and young people to get support at the earliest opportunity without the need to access services at the specialist level. The focus was on supporting children wherever they were. Schools would be encouraged to adopt a whole-school approach, for example by establishing drop-in areas which pupils could use to help them cope with emotional difficulty, and by identifying recurring themes which give rise to emotional difficulty, eg bullying;

 

b)    Young Healthy Minds were currently contracted to deliver services and had performed well over the life of the three-year contract, exceeding the contract activity targets;

 

c)    concern was expressed, from experience as a primary school governor, about the help given to young people in exclusion cases, and whether or not suitable support had been offered to them, eg to cope with anger management issues, before resorting to exclusion proceedings; 

 

d)    emotional problems were very common during adolescence, but many did not seem to be identified until much later, eg at 16 or 17.  What was needed was immediate help and support. Teachers were able to identify young people with emotional problems but needed then to be able to refer them onwards for help.  Early recognition of issues was a critical part of the new model and vital for getting services right; and

 

e)    the aim was to include trained mental health professionals in the Early Help units, working with a whole family, as most problems identified via work with troubled families had their roots in emotional wellbeing and mental health issues. This would contribute to meeting the outcomes of the Troubled Families programme.

 

 

2.         RESOLVED that the information set out in the report be welcomed.

85.

Annual Equality and Diversity Report 2014 - 2015 pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, outlining current performance and future plans for reporting equalities information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ms M Woodward, Principal Social Worker, and Ms N Shaw, Practice Development Officer, Safeguarding Unit, were in attendance for this item.

 

1.            Ms Shaw introduced the report and highlighted the key areas of activity and improvement, particularly engagement with young people and those in care.  This engagement had resulted in increased involvement of young people in shaping the key documents which related to the care process, eg the Kent Pledge and the Fostering Guide. Mr Ireland added that the County Council was seeking to establish services to help UASC to settle into the country, eg help with transport so UASC could attend church and events with other members of their community. Mr Ireland, Mr Segurola and Ms Shaw responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-

 

a)    Mr Segurola undertook to supply information on the percentage of children in care from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities, and the percentage of these successfully adopted, to a speaker outside the meeting, and this was subsequently done; and

 

b)     responding to a question about the number of children in care who were aware of the Kent Pledge, Ms Shaw advised Members that raising awareness of the Pledge was part of the work of Independent Reviewing Officer (IROs).

 

2.            The Chairman asked how it was envisaged that paragraph b) of the recommendations in the report would be achieved.  Mr Ireland clarified that this recommendation was intended to give the committee an opportunity to scrutinise the equalities and diversity activity by checking that suitable information was included in reports to Cabinet Committees, especially for reports relating to decisions.

 

3.            RESOLVED that:-

 

a)    current performance be noted;

 

b)    equality governance information be included in reports to Cabinet Committees, especially those relating to decisions, so Members can ensure that requirements are being properly observed;

 

c)    reports on equality and diversity work be made annually to the committee, to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and ensure progress against County Council objectives; and

 

d)    revised objectives be received in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

86.

Specialist Children's Services Performance Dashboard pdf icon PDF 75 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, outlining progress against targets set for key performance and activity indicators.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mrs M Robinson, Management Information Service Manager for Children’s Services, was in attendance for this item.

 

1.            Mrs Robinson introduced the report and responded to comments and questions from Members, as follows:-

 

a.    the percentage of children entering child protection arrangements for the second time was high. This was currently due to a high number of large sibling groups having become subject to child protection plans since April, so, although the percentage was higher than the target level, the actual number of children was relatively low;

 

b.      the time elapsed between a decision to place a child for adoption and a match being made was rated red but had been skewed by one particularly complex case which had necessarily taken a long time; and

 

c.    when considering the adoption performance indicators, it was important to consider and understand the context of the activity being measured.  For instance, while it was desirable for placements to be made as quickly as possible, it was important to take time to make the correct placement for each child.  Some placements simply needed more time and the process for them had been slow for good reasons, but all resulted in positive outcomes for the children concerned.

 

2.            RESOLVED that the information set out in the Specialised Children’s Services dashboard report be noted.

87.

Complaints and Representations 2014/15 DOCM 263 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Specialist Children’s Services and the Corporate Director of Social Care, Health and Wellbeing, outlining the operation of the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure (England) Regulations 2006.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ms A Kitto, Customer Care Manager, was in attendance for this item.

 

RESOLVED that the information set out in the report be noted.

88.

Work Programme 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services on the Committee’s work programme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            The Democratic Services Officer introduced the report and sought Members’ comments on the items listed. Members referred to the update report on Teenage Pregnancy which had been suggested for 12 months’ time, under item B1 on the agenda (minute 83 above). The usefulness of this was questioned, as very little progress could be expected in this time; to show any real progress on this issue would surely need longer. Another view was that some progress on reducing the rate of teenage pregnancy needed to be made very shortly, so a one-year-on update would be expected to show some change. Another speaker asked if data on the rate of teenage pregnancies could be listed with more local detail than previously, ie at ward level.

 

2.            RESOLVED that the committee’s work programme for 2015/2016 be agreed.