Meeting documents

Corporate Parenting Panel
Wednesday, 9th March, 2016

Corporate Parenting Panel Minutes

Date:
Wednesday 9th March 2016
Time:
5.00pm
Place:
The Council Chamber, The Town Hall, Katherine Street, Croydon,
 

Attendance Details

Present:

Councillor Alisa Flemming (Chair);

Councillors Andy Stranack, Bernadette Khan, Matthew Kyeremeh and Maggie Mansell. 

Also present:
Officers - Paul Chadwick, Lisa Fenaroli, Oretha Wofford, Jane Rowe, Karen Page, Cynthia Winifred, Dionne Sang
Absent:
Councillors Maria Gatland and Shafi Khan
Apologies for absence:
Councillors Maria Gatland and Shafi Khan, Wendy Tomlinson

Item Item/Resolution
MINUTES - PART A
A10/16 MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 13TH JANUARY 2016

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting be agreed and signed by the Chair.

A11/16 DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST

None.

A12/16 URGENT BUSINESS (IF ANY)

None.

A13/16 EXEMPT ITEMS

None.

A14/16 LOOKED AFTER CHILDREN & CARE LEAVERS
ADOPTION & PERMANENCE

There was a short presentation. The Officer presented an outline of the Looked After Children and Care Leavers service as it currently is and the future plans to be implemented, such as placement stability, housing demand and immunisations.

 

The Officer then spoke about trends, performance and future developments regarding adoption and permanence, major recent initiatives and progress made. There has been a good stream of approvals and this should continue going forward.

 

The Chair asked the panel if they wished to move to a discussion on the items presented. The Panel members asked for further clarification on some of the figures which they were given. The officer stated that they relied on feedback from adopters and that this has been positive. Croydon has a very good record in relation to adoption breakdown and there has been none in the last five years. They also have a very positive record with regard to supporting adopters.

 

The Panel asked if the services discussed could be accessed through an adoption agency. They also wished to know the time period for adoptive parents to access it and how we could to ensure that families knew that the fund was available. The Officer explained that the fund could be accessed through the local authority.

Cllr Bernadette Khan asked for the regeneration agenda to be discussed at a forthcoming meeting. Cllr Khan also advised the panel that when sitting on the adoption panel they did not have a care plan of the child to use for reference and suggested that access to this information at panel meetings would help its members to make correct decisions.


RESOLVED that the presentation be noted.

A15/16 INDEPENDENT REVIEWING OFFICERS
OFFICER: ORETHA WOFFORD

There was a short presentation. The officer gave an overview of the work that an Independent Reviewing Officer does including its primary roles, which are as follows:

  • To chair reviews of care and pathway plans for all Looked After Children
  • To ensure that children's care plans were robust and met the child's needs reflecting their own wishes and feelings
  • To monitor the progress of cases
  • To escalate any unresolved concerns
  • To consider seeking legal advice or referral to CAFCASS as appropriate

 

If Independent Reviewing Officers are dissatisfied, they have the ability to go outside of the local authority. One identified area of weakness was lack of access to independent legal advice. Independent Reviewing Officers can currently seek advice from Legal Services but this is not fully independent. There has only been two cases which have been dealt with externally. There have been a lot of challenges and a lot of work has been done this year to improve the IRO service.

 

IROs Jane Rowe and Karen Page were introduced to the panel. They explained their experiences as IROs in Croydon and noted the improvements they have observed, including additional training and the building of relationships with managers. They added that they are doing a better job of monitoring and linking roles with other services including the Leaving Care Team.

 

Cllr Khan asked that the panel should note the staffing levels of the IROs and asked to receive additional feedback on their work.

The Panel then heard from the following young people.

 

CA
Explained to the panel that she has a good relationship with her IRO and felt that it helped her to have her voice heard. The only negative experience she had was when she felt she had not been at the heart of the meeting. She has been a Looked After Child for about 5 years. She feels that she gets the support that she needs. Her aspirations are to be either a youth or social worker.

 

T
Her relationship with her IRO is good. The IRO discusses her needs and monitors her progress. She feels like Croydon is a good ‘Corporate Parent'.


The Chair asked if the young people knew how to get in touch with councillors as their corporate parents if they needed to. Cllr Maggie Mansell explained that young people could contact their local councillors by finding details of their surgeries on the council website. It was explained that they were able to speak to their local councillors if they felt that they were not satisfied with the service and support which was being provided to them.

 

RESOLVED that the presentation be noted.

A16/16 UNACCOMPANIED ASYLUM SEEKING YOUNG PEOPLE
OFFICER:CYNTHIA WINIFRED

The Officer informed the panel that that there has been a lot of challenges including age disputes. Some of the schools have rejected some of the children as they needed to be aged assessed. They have had to outsource to Sutton to deal with the backlog.

 

They try to match the young people with the foster carers, as part of the young people's confusion is not knowing where they belong.

 

The young person's representative Gloria thanked them for coming and introduced them to speak.

 

A and A

Aged 17 and 18 years old from Albania. They read a poem together to the panel about their experiences of being unaccompanied minors in this country. They explained that they did not know‘how' to live in a multicultural society when they arrived and felt that they were living in limbo. Even though they were trying to show a brave face, they were struggling hard to find their way. They were studying at John Ruskin and also at Croydon College. They had completed their level 1 NVQ and are currently studying level 2. Their aim was to complete the level 3 qualification. They confirmed that they had had good health assessments and checks.

 

M

M is 19 years old and has been in care so far for one and a half years. He is currently attending college. He has been very happy since coming in the UK from Pakistan although it was difficult to begin with. He is enjoying his studies and is keeping in touch with his mother who is still in Pakistan.

 

T & H

Both came to the UK from Vietnam with no English at all. They are good friends and do everything together. They are currently studying hair and beauty at Croydon College. They feel that they have a lot of opportunities here and they have a good environment. In the future H wants to be a salon manager.

 

Panel members complimented the young people about the way they had expressed themselves and about the progress they had made with their spoken English in such a limited timescale.

 

The officer in charge of virtual schools, Lisa Fenarolli, explained to the panel that the Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers usually found themselves in a challenging position. They work on a six week rolling programme before the child starts school, teaching them how school timetables work, what is expected of them, etc.

RESOLVED to note young people's contributions to the meeting

A17/16 CORPORATE PARENTING WORK PROGRAMME REPORT
OFFICER: SOLOMON AGUTU

The work programme was agreed by the panel. The format of future reports was also discussed. Cllr Andy Stranack asked for a ‘briefing note' in addition to the main report which would highlight any strengths and weaknesses at a glance.

 

The idea of having a pre-meeting before the main Corporate Parenting Panel was discussed to enable introductions to the young people to be made. The need for a seating plan was also raised.

A18/16 DATE OF FUTURE MEETING
  • 6 July 2016 at 5pm
MINUTES - PART B
  None
The meeting ended at 7:20pm