Foster carers and County Council staff work together sharing the responsibility of promoting and safeguarding the health and welfare of children and young people who are looked after.
All staff and carers work with, and look after, some of the most vulnerable individuals. Where possible, children who require placements are matched with a foster carer’s skills and location, with the aim of keeping them in their local communities and schools. Some young people live in residential units.
Contact with parents and wider family is positively promoted where appropriate and there is high emphasis placed on the importance of education and healthy lifestyles for looked after children.
Sufficiency Statement for Children Looked After and Care Leavers 2020 – 2023
The Sufficiency Statement is the start, not the end point, of how we work and engage with providers on where we provide accommodation for our children looked after and care leavers.
The document, which you can download, shapes the way we commission and deliver accommodation-related support for our children looked after (CLA) and care leavers. We want this to be a practical document that shares our future direction, identified gaps and ways in which we can work more collaboratively in the future.
The Children’s Act 1989 places a duty on councils to “take steps that secure, so far as reasonably practicable, sufficient accommodation within the authority’s area” to support children looked after. This can be across a number of different settings in family homes through foster carers, in children’s homes, in residential schools and for young people aged over 16 in supported accommodation.
Somerset’s 16+ Quality Standards for Supported Accommodation
Somerset County Council has developed this set of principles in partnership with 16+ semi-independent providers, young people and Children’s Social Care.
The aim of this guidance is to ensure there is consistency across this provision for young people in Somerset needing supported accommodation to prepare them for independence. This type of provision is currently unregulated but accommodates some of the most vulnerable young people and so these are our expectations of providers.