Ofsted inspectors have found that Solihull children’s services have continued improvement in services for young people leaving care and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children since the last inspection.
A focused visit by the inspectorate which concentrated on services for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and children leaving care found that Solihull had an informed overview of its performance and practice.
“Senior leaders and managers know their service well. This has enabled them to improve the quality of practice and support for care leavers and UASC and achieve positive outcomes for young people,” said the report.
- Social workers and personal advisers show an enthusiasm in ensuring young people’s needs are understood and met where possible.
- Those working with UASC are knowledgeable and demonstrate expertise with legislation. They are able to sensitively balance the complex needs of young people and are aware of the risks associated with unaccompanied status, including trafficking and emotional and physical harm.
- Age assessments for UASC are undertaken by appropriately trained staff, and demonstrate a range of evidence gathering and appropriate analysis.
- Continuous, sustained contact and support is evident in work with post-18 care leavers.
- The 16 plus team receive appropriate training and development to ensure that appropriately trained and skilled staff deliver services to UASC and care leavers.
- For those young people aged 16 and 17, planning for leaving care and independence is evident and in most cases timely.
- In December 2017, Solihull reported that 88% of young people were living in suitable accommodation.
- Increasing numbers of young people are ‘Staying Put’.
- Young people are encouraged to engage in employment, education or training.
- The young people spoken to feel safe and are actively engaged in planning for their future.
While almost all young people have pathway plans, these are not always started as soon as possible after a young person’s sixteenth birthday and can be delayed until the young person transfers to the 16-plus team. Young people could benefit from pathways starting as soon as practicably possible, inspectors recommend.
Supervision is regular and sometimes reflective but not always consistent, inspectors found. Supervision of cases should consistently contain an element of reflection and analysis to assist the allocated worker with thinking about complex issues and different approaches in seeking better outcomes
Inspectors recommend that Solihull improves the approach taken with young people leaving care to help them understand their personal histories and the reasons why they entered care to ensure this becomes more routine and at the young person’s pace.