The Council’s Social Work Services committee (27 October 2015) will hear of significant changes in the number of children supported in out-of-region placements and provided with community based support.

Social Work Services significantly reduced the number of agency placements over the latter part of financial year 2014/15, laying foundations for 2015/16. Improved practice has resulted in improved outcomes for children, with the number of children requiring placements being reduced. It has also resulted in a forecast underspend of £897k (August 2015).

Linked to the success in reducing agency placements, it is intended that a review of residential placements for children with disabilities can replicate this success. However, the underspend on agency placements is currently being offset by pressure on the children with disabilities budget, where there is a projected overspend of £624k (August 2015). This is the result of a projected increase from 5 children to 10 children requiring the service. Each case is subject to a detailed review and individual plans are being prepared for each child. Social Works Services is working with families, Education Services and other agencies to agree alternative, community-based arrangements wherever possible. The aim is to significantly reduce the number of out-of-region placements by 2016.

Councillor Jim Dempster, chairman of the Social Work Services committee, said, “Protecting the most vulnerable people in society is a priority for our Council. We aim to significantly reduce the number of out-of-region placements for children with disabilities, as we have achieved in agency placements for looked after and accommodated children. As part of our Council reshaping, we’re moving towards a joined-up approach to children, young people and lifelong learning. This will enable us to intervene earlier in the lives of vulnerable children, resulting in better outcomes and reducing costs so that we can target scarce resources at those who need them most.”

For full report see: http://egenda.dumgal.gov.uk/aksdumgal/users/public/admin/kab71.pl?cmte=SWS

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