Agenda item

Corporate Parenting including recruitment of Foster Carers / Supported Lodgings

Presentation from Mary-Anne Cosgrove (Head of Children in Care) and Audrey Taylor (Service Manager - Fostering and Adoption)



Mary-Anne Cosgrove (Head of Children in Care) updated the Board and gave a presentation which included information about the current status of recruitment of Foster Carers / Supported Lodgings


Sophie Russell (Head of Children’s Strategy and Improvement, Children’s Integrated Services) elaborated on the presentation and explained that Supported Lodgings was one the key projects in terms of meeting Council’s Corporate Parenting responsibilities. The following information was highlighted:


a)  Unfortunately the newly recruited Co-Ordinator for Supported Lodgings did not take up the post. However Barnardos has provided support and this has meant that Supported Lodging Host recruitment and training has progressed.


b)  Nottingham City Council has continued to work with Banardos on the ‘Place to call Home’ project, which is a regional initiative to increase foster placements and supported lodgings for Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC), funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.


c)  The operating model would take into account lessons learned from the experience as well as other regional projects in order to develop a bespoke solution for the East Midlands.


d)  To date, 4 individuals/couples have been approved at panel, 2 of which were through a ‘Place to call Home’. These would provide a positive environment for children and UASC’s and meetings were held on a regular basis between the Barnados lead and the Council’s Placement Team.


e)  Work was being undertaken to increase the number of hosts and the number of good quality foster placements and to increase the amount of in-house carers by offering support and providing mentoring opportunities.


f)  Currently, there are 250 placements supported by the service and whilst there have been some de-registrations and resignations, the majority have been for positive reasons such as to offer more permanent homes and/or adoptions.


g)  There are 13 approved in-house carers this year since April (2021); 7 are currently in their assessment stage and 3 who are waiting heir paperwork to start them in the assessment and the Council is currently meeting on a regular basis in supporting a number of carers groups.


The Chair thanked both the Head of Children in Care and the Head of Children’s Strategy and Improvement, for their presentation and emphasised the importance of the role the Council had as Corporate Parents and stressed the ongoing commitment to achieve the best for children in care. There was a continued need for the Council to connect with all partners to try and raise the profile of fostering and supported lodging schemes in order to recruit additional forester carers so that children can live in the City and continue to attend their usual schools whilst living in a thriving, supportive setting.


In response to questions asked, the following information was noted:


h)  Work was being undertaken to recruit far and wide for foster carers as there remained some competition from independent fostering agencies and efforts were underway to ensure that the Councils offer is as competitive as possible, specifically across the East Midlands region with continued efforts to increase the profile of the City’s fostering team.


i)  There were continued efforts made to increase the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) foster carers to assist with the provision of a diverse range of carers which included the involvement of Churches and Faith Groups.