Despite significant resources and attention being paid to improving services for children who are looked after by local authorities, looked after children (LAC) in England continue to be at high risk of poor outcomes. Compared with other young people, care leavers are more likely to be unemployed, to gain fewer qualifications, to experience mental health problems, be imprisoned, and to become teenage parents. Research has highlighted the absence of continuity as a key factor contributing to the poor mental health and emotional needs of LAC.
The innovation addressed these issues by taking on the statutory duties for the young people, delegated by the LA, and also provided wrap-around services, including health, education and psychology to the young person. The supervising social worker from Match took on the role of the LA child and family social worker, including statutory visits, LAC reviews and personal education plan reviews.
The use of a consistent social worker provided young people with the opportunity to form relationships with their social worker. It also meant there was swift access to wrap-around services and that Match workers could make decisive contact-related decisions directly according to the young person’s needs.
Mary Beek, Gillian Schofield & Julie Young
Stoke-on-Trent Council, Birmingham City Council