Inadequate children’s care service handed to new trust
THE protection and care of “at risk” children in Sandwell is set to radically change as 1,580 youngsters, 550 staff and £58 million are transferred to a government-imposed trust next week.
The Sandwell Children’s Trust will begin work after the existing councilrun department was repeatedly described as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.
The transfer takes place after a massive increase in the number of children in care in the borough, from 552 in April 2104 to 722 by January this year. In another 850 plans.
The almost 40 per cent increase in Sandwell cases has come as national government imposed year-on-year funding cuts to local councils.
In 2017 the government ordered the authority to transfer its ‘lookedafter-children’ service to the new body. It is one of only five in England delivering services for seven councils and will run Sandwell services for the next ten years. addition, on child there are protection
Former Home Secretary Smith has been appointed to the new trust.
In January she said: “We are under no illusions about the size of the challenge ahead of us as we move towards launching the Sandwell Children’s Trust. It remains an exciting and real opportunity to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children and families in Sandwell.”
Ms Smith this week presented the trust’s plans for the future of the service to councillors at a meeting Jacqui chair Sandwell Board.
The service has been one of the council’s most critical and expensive departments. According to a 2014 National Audit Office report, foster care can cost as much as £27,000 a year per child. while placements in children’s homes can amount to £135,000 each. In comparison, the famous Harrow public school charges £39,000 a year.
Schools and education services will remain under the control of the Health and Wellbeing council, and the new trust will be overseen by local councillors but will ultimately answer to the government.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Keeping children safe is of paramount importance, and this government is committed to tackling failure in children’s social care.
“That’s why we are putting the Sandwell Children’s Trust in place, which will take over the delivery of services in April.”