To agree Kent County Council’s policy on care leavers and their transition to adulthood.
The decision relates to Corporate Objectives and will support the Council’s objective to improve services for the most vulnerable people in Kent.
The aim of providing Care Leavers support is to ensure that young people leaving care and preparing to leave care receive support and help to assist them in making a successful transition to adulthood. Ofsted’s single inspection framework, introduced in November 2013, also now includes a specific grade judgement on local authorities’ services to care leavers, and requires that the plans for young people leaving care are effective and address their individual needs. Local authorities are required to ensure that young people feel safe, particularly where they live and that they acquire the necessary skills and emotional resilience to successfully move towards independence.
The Council has no legal alternative but to provide equitable Care Leavers Services to all eligible young people irrespective of their route into care. Previously unaccompanied asylum seeking children with Leave to Remain (LTR) in the UK must be afforded the same level of services as indigenous young people in accordance with their need.
The consistent policy will:
· Create a single policy for all care leavers.
· Provide consistency of application of the policy between indigenous and previously unaccompanied asylum seeking care leavers.
· Provide clear guidance for staff, care leavers, foster carers, partner agencies and third sector organisations.
· Be clear about the amount of funds available and any legal process that may apply.
The policy sets out which services will be provided to all care leavers, and which will be based on an assessment of need. All financial support is non-repayable, and has been set in line with national minimal guidelines.
The total cost of supporting Care Leavers to the Council in 2014/15 is forecasted as follows:
UASC Care Leavers £4.97 m
Indigenous Care Leavers £4.72 m
Total £ 9.7 m
These costs are made up of indirect costs of £2.6m for staffing and infrastructure costs, and £7.09m of direct costs for individuals concerned.
The new policy aims to reduce the overall direct costs for eligible care leavers by 5% in 2015/16. In addition to these, work is being undertaken to reduce the £834K costs currently attributable to non-eligible UASC care leavers through the undertaking of Human Rights Assessments.
The Council receives as income £1.89 m from the Home Office towards the cost of supporting Care UASC care leavers.
The adoption of the policy will ensure that all financial provision is awarded on the basis of assessed need in line with Children Act statutory guidance and not on the basis of immigration status alone.
The policy will enable the expenditure currently accrued for the over 21 cohort in UASC to be rationalised and reduced in line with Statutory Guidance.
The decision will ensure the council fulfils its responsibilities as a corporate parent set out in recently updated regulations to the Children Act 1989.
The policy will be subject to an Equality Impact Assessment.
The matter is referred to in the 0-25 Portfolio Plan.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 20/01/2015
Department: Social Care, Health & Wellbeing
Contact: Sarah Hammond, Director of Integrated Children's Services, East 03000 411488 Email: email@example.com.
The draft policy and recommendation report were discussed at the Children’s Social Care and Health Cabinet Committee on 20 January 2015, and the proposed decision was endorsed.
Financial implications: Sarah Hammond Assistant Director for West Kent 03000 411488 firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal implications: 15/00005