While more resources are being directed towards children and young people in care, this has neither solved the challenges faced by the system nor addressed the pressures of rising demand. There is no correlation between the needs of the children and young people in care, the outcomes they achieve or the investments made. While this is clearly not intentional, social workers, professionals and service providers have no shared language to describe the complex requirements of children and young people in care, and without a true understanding of needs, some children are left with no carers or placements. A new approach is needed.
IMPOWER’s Valuing Care programme improves the life chances of children in care by strengthening the links between children’s needs, the outcomes being pursued, and the resources available. By better capturing and reviewing the needs of looked after children, councils can make better decisions on support, placements and commissioning.
Following assessment by social workers and other professionals, it enables the placement cost of every child in a council’s care to be mapped against their individual needs.
By mapping all children in this way, councils are able to understand – often for the first time – where need is across the cohort of children in their care and how resources are currently used. In turn this enables better decision making on support, placements and commissioning.
By enabling councils to bring greater value, transparency and fairness to the way resources are allocated by their Children’s Services Departments, the Valuing Care approach improves the life chances of children in care and ensures that every pound spent makes a positive difference.