Review into overhauling Calderdale's fostering service

Halifax town hall
Halifax town hall

A review into overhauling Calderdale Council’s fostering service is under way.

With councils nationally facing severe financial pressures for both adults and children and young people’s social care costs, it is expensive if places for looked after children have to be found with outside service providers.

This summer the former People Scrunity Board and newly constituted Children and Young People Scrutiny Board agreed a task-and-finish group should be established to look at fostering.

A cross-party review group, comprising Councillors Stephen Baines (Con, Northowram and Shelf), Anne Collins (Lab, Ovenden), Ashley Evans (Lib Dem, Warley) and Colin Rastrick (Ind, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe), will aim to begin its witness phase this month with a view to completing that by late November, whereupon the review group will develop a timetable to complete the work and aim to produce a final report with recommendations to be presented to the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Board early next year.

The review’s overall aim is to examine the sufficiency of foster care with main issues and key objectives including the impact of the Payment for Skills Scheme, recommendations in the Narey and Owers’ Review of the Fostering System in England and the Government’s response, recruitment and retention of foster carers, the support offered to foster carers and specialisms including multi-treatment and therapeutic foster care.

The Narey and Owers report is an independent one although commissioned by the Department of Education and aims to improve foster care across the UK.

Payment For Skills looks at foster carers’ pay.

In private session, key witnesses will include young people with experience of foster care, foster carers, social workers in the council’s fostering team, and Calderdale Theraputic Team staff, while in public session key council professionals, Cabinet portfolio holder Coun Megan Swift and other providers and services including Foster4Leeds will speak at a public session, probably in Halifax Town Hall.