The latest meeting of the Herts County Council Children’s, Young People and Families Cabinet Panel, held on June 17th, revealed that the number of children in care who had three or more placements in the last year has continued to fall. In addition, the number of children in the county who remained in the same placement for more than two years has increased, resulting in less disruption to the lives of those in care.
The statistics showed that 89 children in care in Hertfordshire had received three or more different placements in the year to March 2021. Representing 8.9% of the total of 996 children in care this was said to be the best ever end of year performance by the council. The numbers compared favourably with figures for the year to the end of March 2020, which showed that a year ago 106 children, or 11.1%, had had three or more care placements.
Commenting on the report Senior Performance and Development Manager for Children’s Services Paul Dryden said: “There has been a lot of progress on this. Historically we were around 13%, which placed Hertfordshire in the bottom 25 per cent of the country. We have done a lot of work, working with foster carers and understanding the reasons why placements might break down and how we can better support those placements to make sure that the young person can remain in a stable placement. And that has improved to 8.9%, which is our best performance ever and we are now in the top 25 per cent of the country.”
The figures in the report also showed that 72.6% of children who had been in care for two and a half years or longer had stayed in the same care placement for at least two years. This again was an improvement over the previous twelve months to March 2020, when 71% of children were shown to have had the same placement for two years or more.
Obviously any improvement to the stability of the lives of children in care should be applauded. However, it is widely acknowledged that for long periods during the worst of the Covid lockdown restrictions in 2020 many family breakdowns and abusive relationships were not being reported to social services. Potentially therefore, a substantial number of changes of placement have yet to be recorded into the data and will only be revealed in later reports.
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To see the report in full go to: