Glowing Ofsted report for Childrens Services Care Leavers’ Team

Glowing Ofsted report for Childrens Services Care Leavers’ Team
30 November 2021

The Council’s care leavers’ team, part of Childrens Services, has recently been visited by Ofsted.

Childrens services, care leaver’s team was delighted to welcome Ofsted inspectors over two days, 26 and 27 October 2021.

The inspectors spent two days interviewing staff, managers, Councillor Jon Clarke, the Council’s portfolio holder for children and young people along with several care leavers.

Following the visit by inspectors, Ofsted has issued an official report praising the team, the wider council and the work processes that are in place to ensure all care leavers are prepared for independent living when the time comes for them to leave their foster homes.

Main findings include:

  • Highly skilled and effective workers in the leaving care team support young care leavers extremely well
  • Care workers are led by a knowledgeable and determined team manager who provides consistently good support and supervision.
  • Young people are benefiting from long-standing, trusting relationships with workers who are emotionally invested in them, who provide agile, personal, and tailored support to ensure they are adequately prepared for to leave foster care and make the transition to live on their own
  • There is strong corporate parenting support, influence, and investment, along with a plethora of creative and generous opportunities from the wider council and its partners, all which contributes to positive outcomes for care leavers
  • Early planning for young people’s future is considered at personal education planning meetings
  • After leaving care, ongoing, regular visits and a drop-in service is maintained to keep in touch with the young people and to ensure their aspirational personal plans are continually reviewed.   

The report highlights how the care leavers’ team introduced an imaginative use of temporary taster flat provision to help care leavers plan their transition to living independently. Both inspectors were delighted with the continued support offered to care leavers after leaving care and to discover that many of the young people return to their foster placements for ongoing support and to celebrate special occasions.

In addition, the inspectors were pleased to report that care leavers live in a range of good quality accommodation and that most care leavers are engaged in education, employment, and training, with a number attending university, with more being prepared to start university next year.

Also noted is how well the care leavers’ team works collaboratively with schools, local training providers and job clubs, as well as offering relentless support from their workers preparing them for interviews.

Councillor Jon Clarke, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We are delighted the young care leavers’ service is getting the recognition it deserves. Managers and staff alike work extremely hard to build great relationships with young people to ensure when they are leaving care, they are fully prepared to take the next step in their lives to life independently.

“I often pop along to the drop-in sessions and am amazed how confident and friendly the care leavers are. They clearly have great relationships with the staff, which is so warming to witness.

“Staff organise events to help support young people leaving care, when they are setting up their own home which helps provide a few extra bits, whether it be household items, toiletries or clothes, residents are always supportive and donate generously and care leavers are so appreciative.

He added, “I am enormously proud of the service provided for care leavers and would like to congratulate each and every member of the team and thank them for all their hard work.”

Read the full Ofsted report on www.ofsted.gov.uk

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