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Decision details

Fostering Business Case

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

To provide an overview of the proposed business case for the fostering service supporting the Children and Families sufficiency strategy.

Decision:

12.1

The Executive Director, People Services, submitted a report seeking to gain Cabinet endorsement and approval to proceed with the improvements and investment identified within the Fostering Business Case and outlined in the report, supporting the Children and Families Placement Sufficiency Strategy.

 

 

12.2

RESOLVED: That Cabinet endorses the proposals of the Fostering Business Case, as set out in the report, include the following changes: -

 

·         Enhanced skill level payments to all carers

·         The introduction of increased fees at level 1, which is entry level for almost all new foster carers, this will support more people to be able to afford to foster, in that it is more likely to enable them to reduce or give up paid work to take on fostering.

·         Removal of the current system of reduction of skill level payment when a carer looks after more than one CLA.  Meaning there is no reduction in fee payment for a second or third child in placement. This will enable and encourage carers to foster more than one child and be beneficial in providing more capacity for keeping sibling groups together.  Currently only around 5% of our carers look after 3 children or young people.

·         Introduce differentials related to the age of children fostered in levels 1 and 2. This is because we want to target investment at areas of greater need – i.e. placements for older children,

·         In addition to the increase in fees, the service will have to increase the fostering allowance for 2019/20 in order to comply with the increase applied to the National Minimum Fostering Allowance. On average across the different age groups the increase will be approximately 2% per child per week.

 

 

12.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

12.3.1

Supporting the recommendations in this report will ensure that the local authority is able to meet its Statutory Duty to provide sufficient placements for children looked after.  It will also support the local authority to deliver on the ambitions for children looked after laid out in the Corporate Parenting Strategy 2018/20.

 

 

12.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

12.4.1

The service has considered and consulted with foster carers about what improvements to the service and the ‘offer’ to carers would make Sheffield a more attractive agency to foster for. We know that we are in a competitive market for foster carers and that there are very many independent fostering agencies in Sheffield and the region which work hard to recruit the limited number of people who are interested and have the qualities to be good foster carers. We have reasoned that the significant investment detailed in this report is essential to ensure Sheffield’s Fostering Service is competitive with other local fostering services and in an improved position to recruit the additional foster carers needed to care for Sheffield’s Children Looked After. We consider that to not invest in our service in such a way would leave the service uncompetitive and without the potential for the required growth in carer numbers.

 

 

12.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

 

 

None

 

 

12.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

 

 

None

 

 

12.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

 

 

Jayne Ludlam, Executive Director, People Services

 

 

12.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

 

 

Children, Young People and Family Support

 

Report author: Paul Dempsey

Publication date: 25/03/2019

Date of decision: 20/03/2019

Decided at meeting: 20/03/2019 - Cabinet

Effective from: 30/03/2019

Accompanying Documents: