Calderdale fostering service is “adequate” says Ofsted

Coun Megan Swift.

Coun Megan Swift.

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The council’s beleaguered fostering service has received some comfort from Ofsted inspectors who say it is performing “adequately”.

But Freedom of Information requests show that foster carers are quitting at an unprecedented rate and that children in care are still being bounced between social workers - 130 having six or more changes.

More than 130 people applied to become foster parents in Calderdale last year but only one was actually recruited. Since then Calderdale Council has made a concerted effort to attract more carers, which now number 149, but 11 resigned this year.

According to Ofsted, the fostering service meets minimum requirements and is improving. “A large majority of children are placed with foster carers or connected people but an insufficient number of carers and size of households limits choice.” The service is adequate at keeping children safe.

The council’s social care spokeswoman, Coun Megan Swift, said: “Calderdale Council has been working extremely hard over the last 18 months to make significant improvements to the fostering service and to achieve better outcomes for children. The team has worked in partnership with a number of agencies and foster carers to build on the strengths of the service and to ensure that robust plans are in place to address any areas of continuous improvement.

“A borough wide recruitment campaign for new foster carers is ongoing and we are confident that this inspection outcome will support us in our ambition to work with even more foster carers, enabling us to care for and support Calderdale children. “Whilst we are extremely pleased with the outcome of this inspection, we very much regard it as the baseline on which the service will continue to develop and improve even further.”