Residential Care

Key messages

GM LAs want to place more children who need residential settings in their local area.

There are enough beds in GM, for all the children who are in residential settings to live in the region, but accessing them by the host GM LA is proving difficult.

Children with more complex needs are much less likely to be placed in GM, although more insight is needed to drive the specific service development needed to support this cohort of children and young people.

The development of complex safeguarding teams and the deep dives rolled out across GM will help to better inform commissioning. This may include more young people being cared for locally in specialist placements, managing higher risk in-area as the partnership working between agencies becoming tighter.

 

Top 3 Challenges    
Challenge 1 Challenge 2 Challenge 3

The steep escalation in use of residential care seems led more by insufficiency in foster care than by the needs of children and young people.

Too few LAC are being placed within their host LA independent residential care market, due to an imbalance in the geographical spread of homes.

We need a continued strive for quality improvement within the sector, 40 GM based homes were rated overall as 'Requires Improvement' or 'Inadequate' by Ofsted (June 2020)

 

Sufficiency Remedies Increased Supply Reduced Demand Improved Access

To reduce the numbers of LAC that unnecessarily escalate to residential care because of a shortage of foster care availability. Growth of foster care is critical to achieving this.

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Continue developing and expand no wrong door, ensuring only the right young people come into care at the right time.

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Where numerical insufficiency exists (i.e. LAs where even if all supply was fully available for use, then that host LA could still never place all their LAC in area) there needs to be a Market Reshaping Plan developed urgently. 

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Re-profile residential placements for less complex young people. These are lower cost services, meeting the needs of young people in larger homes. They may bring in additional services to meet some specialised needs on a flexible basis.

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More high quality Homes with clinically recognised specialist interventions which work with more complex young people including services that either prevent escalation to Tier 4 provision, or as a step-down transition from such a service.

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More emergency residential care that can offer short term/time limited high intensity placements to meet the needs of more complex young people while a permanent home can be found.

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Foster Care

Key messages

There are not enough foster carers in Greater Manchester to meet the needs of our children.

Despite demand for placements increasing, we have seen a decline in the number of foster carers across GM. It is essential that we see growth.

We need to explore ways to commission IFA placements differently given the challenges faced by LAs in accessing IFA carers in their area.

The growth in GM LAC numbers has been driven by a rise in the numbers of 10-15 year olds, so we need to see more carers offering placements for teenagers.

Staying Put is an important opportunity for young people and Ofsted has identified that its use is declining nationally and remains lower in IFA settings than in internal LA fostering services.

 

Top 3 Challenges    
Challenge 1 Challenge 2 Challenge 3

There is a declining number of foster carers across GM.

Demand for foster care across GM far exceeds availability.

Too few LAC are being placed with IFA carers within their host LA.

 

Sufficiency Remedies Increased Supply Reduced Demand Improved Access

Improve retention of foster carers, in particular a reduction in the volume of foster carers leaving the sector entirely.

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Increase recruitment of foster carers across GM, both to Local Authority Fostering Services and to IFAs.

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Where numerical insufficiency exists (i.e. LAs where even if all supply was fully available for us, then that host LA could still never place all their LAC in-area) there needs to be a Market Reshaping Plan developed urgently.

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More opportunity to work closely and in partnership between GM LAs and IFAs, particularly in response to services for teenagers, sibling groups and those with more complex needs.

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Growth of specialist foster care services, particularly care for children with complex health needs and disabilities. This may include models such as Mockingbird.

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To explore ways to work with the IFA market differently in order to see more LAC being placed closer to home.

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To see the Enhanced Foster Care arrangement support the careful transition of children and young people back to foster care.

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Supported Accommodation and Independent Living services (SaILs)

Key messages

Demand for SaILs placements has grown at a higher pace than residential or foster care, rising by 23% beteen 2018 and 2019.

There are wide variations in quality standards across the SaILs market, indicative of 31 GM based SaILs Providers failing to secure a palce on the NW SaILs DPS 2020.

GM had a disproportionately smaller number of children moving into independent living, motivated largely by fewer children moving into supportive accommodation. Across GM, this was the equivalent of 130 fewer looked after children moving into formal support (-6% of the total population of those who ceased to be looked after).

A GM Housing offer for care leavers in partnership with Greater Manchester Housing Providers (GMHP) is being developed. The pledge commits each housing provider to offer quality and stable housing to care leavers, in addition to employment and skills opportunities, plus peer mentoring.

 

Top 3 Challenges    
Challenge 1 Challenge 2 Challenge 3

Continued work is needed to raise the standards throughout the GM based SaILs market.

There is an inconsistent geographical spread of services across GM.

GM has fewer children moving into independent living - in part due to the availability of accommodation.

 

Sufficiency Remedies Increased Supply Reduced Demand Improved Access

To finalise and agree the GM Housing Offer for Care Leavers. This will confirm support models and options to go alongside accommodation for care leavers and will reduce demand for commissioned SaILs placements with the independent sector.

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Agree a more consistent GM-wide Staying Put policy in order to increase the numbers of young people that are able to remain in their foster placement post-18. This will have a negative impact on foster care capacity however, so needs to be twinned with an increase in carer numbers or it will simply exacerbate the insufficiency across fostering.

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More connectivity within the placement supply chain is needed to strengthen links between Residential Homes / Fostering Services and SaILs in order to improve transitions towards independence.

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Expansion of Supported Lodgings services across GM. Again, there needs to be a focus placed on how this might affect foster carer numbers across GM and inadvertently affect sufficiency.

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Increase the proportion of 15+ year olds that are placed in foster care. The low numbers of older LAC that move to foster care increases demand for SaILs services.

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