Outcomes for children and young people in foster care in Wolverhampton have much improved over the last four years, thanks to a project that has helped transform the service.
The Family Values project started in May 2017 following a review of the City of Wolverhampton Council’s fostering service. It aimed to improve sufficiency and enable more children in care to be cared for by ‘in-house’ foster carers.
The project team has focused on increasing the recruitment of internal foster carers who foster for the council. This is reducing the need to use private external fostering agencies and enabling more children to live locally, letting them continue to go to school in the community they are already part of and to keep contact with their friends and their own family.
The project has also streamlined and reduced the time the process takes for approval of foster carers by two months, as well as offering much enhanced support and training for those foster carers already approved.
The overall number of children in internal fostering placements has, throughout the project, risen from 278 to 308. At the same time, the number of children in external agency fostering placements has reduced from 225 to 149, meaning over two thirds of children are now placed with internal foster carers.
High quality internal foster carers are improving outcomes for those children and young people who are fostered in Wolverhampton, by offering more stability and more positive long-term outcomes for children and young people in care. The short and long-term stability for children and young people in foster care in Wolverhampton is better than the national average for all other local authorities.
The work of the Family Values project has also made a significant contribution to council’s financial position, with an annual saving after costs in the region of £540,000 per annum. These savings have been reinvested into other areas of Children’s Services in Wolverhampton.
Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The Family Values project has been running for four years and has been a transformational success story for the service.
“Getting the best outcomes for children is at the heart of our work. Where children are in our care, we want them to live with local, high quality foster carers wherever possible, so they can benefit from the love and support that children experience when living with a family.
“It is really encouraging to see our transformational work deliver such important results for our children and I would like to thank everyone involved in Family Values and the wider fostering team for their hard work and positive contribution.” The Fostering for Wolverhampton team are currently recruiting for more foster carers.