Children In Care
Nottingham City Council has an average of 650 children in its care at any one time; we are the corporate parent for these children. Councillor Cheryl Barnard, Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People, chairs the Corporate Parenting Board that provides oversight and challenge in relation to all matters involving children in Nottingham City Council’s care.
Care is a vital part of our child protection system. We work hard to ensure that all children in care are healthy and safe, have the same opportunities as their peers and can move successfully into adulthood.
What is a "child in care"?
A child who is being legally “Looked After” by their local authority is known as a child in care. They might be living:
- With Foster Carers.
- At home with their parents under the supervision of social care where social care share Parental Responsibility.
- In residential children's homes / semi-independence placements.
- Other residential settings like schools, secure units or custodial settings.
Our children and young people might have been placed in care voluntarily by parents struggling to cope, or we may have intervened because a child was at significant risk of harm. There is always a thorough assessment that takes place before any decision is made about a child entering care, which will often include decision making in Court. We will always try to identify support for families so that they can continue to care for their children where it is safe to do so.
Children in Care Teams
There are three Children in Care Teams at Nottingham City, representing the North / Central and South / Central areas of the city respectively. All three Teams have a Team Manager, a Senior Practitioner, Social Workers and a Family Support Worker. There is one Senior Practitioner in the service. Each Social Worker has a caseload of approximately 20 children, and must conduct visits and attend meetings with and on behalf of the children they are responsible for, to ensure their wishes and feelings are heard by relevant colleagues both within Nottingham City Council and externally. This will include visits within school to ensure a child’s educational needs are being met, and within placement, whether this is with Foster Carers or in a residential home, to ensure a child’s home environment is right for them.
The Permanency Team has recently been formed, as part of the government agenda to establish Regional Adoption Agencies. The structure is similar with a Team Manager, a Senior Practitioner and Social Workers. This Team deals specifically with children for whom the best outcome is adoption, or another form of permanent care ratified in Court.
There is also a designated Police Officer for Children in Care at Nottingham City. This role promotes partnership working with the Police of children in care and care leavers, with the Children in Care Police Officer providing training and advice to colleagues, whilst also supporting work to ensure our young people are effectively safeguarded.
Children in care are invited to engage with the Children in Care Council at Nottingham City. This is a monthly meeting with young people and relevant officers within the Service, where young people’s wishes and feelings are sought in order to improve our practice. Corporate visitors attend the Children in Care Council once per school term, offering their own insight to create an enriched discussion with our young people.
Our young people were invited to attend the Corporate Parenting Board, however found this a little overwhelming at times and we now ask members from Corporate Parenting Board to attend the Children in Care Council and feeding any themes from those discussions back into the Corporate Parenting board and also take part in the recruitment process for new members of staff within the service.
An annual celebration event also takes place for Children in Care, called the Big It Up Awards. Split into two events based on age groupings, the Awards are an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our children in care over the past year.
The Leaving Care Service supports young people aged 18 to 25 years, who have left care. This Service has a Team Manager, a Senior Personal Advisor and a team of Personal Advisors. Personal Advisors advocate on behalf of the young people they are responsible for, and help them gain access to housing and educational provisions as well as giving advice on living independently and the skills required to do so.
The service also has a specialist employability worker, to target strategies to get young people into Employment, Education and Training (EET).
Alongside receiving routine universal services such as a GP, health visitor or Community Paediatric Nurse in Nottingham City we have a medical and nursing team specializing in the needs of looked after children. These teams undertake health assessments and provide support and advice to other health professionals and other services as required.
All children who come into care receive statutory health assessments. An initial holistic health assessment must be carried out within 20 days of entering care, and must be carried out by an appropriately trained paediatrician with knowledge of the needs of looked after children. Following this, the Looked After Children Nurse undertakes review health assessments for children in the care of Nottingham City. In addition to reviewing the child or young person’s physical health, their developmental and emotional health is also assessed. It is standard to give the child or young person time alone with the health professional, in an age appropriate manner, to ensure their voice is heard directly and sensitively.
Each health assessment leads to a report that highlights any implications for current and future health needs and a health care plan that is shared with the young person (if age appropriate), GP, health visitor or Community Paediatric Nurse and social worker. On leaving care young people will be provided with important health information about themselves, and support with accessing adult services if required.
Nottingham City Children’s Services, working with a local NHS Trust, have developed a team specifically to focus on the mental and emotional health and well-being of Nottingham City children in care. The team works to a consultation model working closely with Foster Carers, Social Workers and the wider professional network offering a reflective space to think about the child’s history, what the current difficulties or concerns are and to develop a plan.
The model aims to support the network increase their understanding of the child or young person, while building skills and knowledge. The team also offers some direct work with children and young people. Practitioners have a range of specialist skills and training including Theraplay and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). Between them, the team has many years’ experience of working with children and young people who have experienced developmental trauma. Practitioner backgrounds include social work, clinical psychology and there is a Consultant Psychiatrist.
The Nottingham City Virtual School has a responsibility to promote and support the education of children in care in the following ways:
- Support with closing the attainment and progress gap between looked after children and their peers, and creating a culture of high aspirations for them.
- Ensuring looked after children have access to a suitable range of high quality education.
- Monitoring, tracking and reporting on the attendance and educational progress of the authorities’ children in care.
- Ensuring there are arrangements in place to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of their authority’s children in care.
- Ensuring every child in their authority’s care has a high quality and up to date Personal Education Plan (PEP).
- Supporting social workers, designated teachers and schools, carers and Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) to understand their role and responsibilities in promoting the education of children in care and initiating, developing, reviewing and updating the child’s PEP.
- Managing and allocating Pupil Premium Plus funding, and ensuring there are arrangements in place to ensure schools are using the allocated funding to benefit the educational needs of the child.
Residential care for children is available in Nottingham City, to ensure that the needs of children are met when they cannot live with their own families.
Nottingham City Council has six small group homes that can accommodate children up to 18 years of age, covering all of these needs. Historically Children’s Homes were large ‘units’ with many beds, often accommodating between 8 and 16 young people. The shift to small group homes, with 2 or 3 beds, provides a much better chance for young people to develop and thrive as these units are more representative of a ‘foster family’. One young person has observed it to be like a “‘foster family’ with lots of parents’”.
Small group homes are staffed on a full-time basis by Childrens’ Residential Social Care Workers, who recognize young people’s individual circumstances surrounding their admission to residential care, and help them to feel at home. Whilst living in these homes residential staff cater for all of the childrens’ their day to day needs, whilst also sensitively focusing on their emotional wellbeing.
Nottingham City also has one large semi-independent home with six self-contained living areas, and four semi-independent homes in the style of the small group homes. These units are designed for young people aged 16 and over, to bridge the gap between residential care and independent living. We also have homes that provide care for disabled children who have learning difficulties that are permanent and substantial. One of the six small group homes is dedicated to young people with a complex level of need whilst there is also a large, short-breaks unit available that provides respite care for young people with complex disabilities.
Who to contact
- 0115 8762801
When is it on?
- When is it on
- Monday to Friday 8:30am – 4:50pm
- Needs Level
- SEN Provision Type