Greenwich Council

Agenda item.

Royal Borough of Greenwich Fostering Annual Report 2015 to 2016

The Panel is asked to note the annual report from the Royal Borough of Greenwich Fostering Service which covers the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.

Minutes:

Councillor Clive Mardner declared that he was a member of the Fostering Panel.

 

The report was presented by the Group Leader C Permanence Service who explained that a service reorganisation had resulted in an increase in in-house fostering capacity. The Borough was attracting foster carers to Greenwich from other Boroughs and private providers due to the high level of support offered. The number of applications rose from 17 in 2014/15 to 26 in 2015/16 which at 9% is higher than the national average of 5%.

 

Royal Greenwich foster carers were allocated a Supervising Social Worker (SSW) and enrolled as members of The Fostering Network. Experienced foster carers were available to offer mentoring and advice. A Foster Carer’s Task Group had been set up by foster carers and was supported by the Fostering Service. There was also the Greenwich Foster Carer’s Association which offered support and took up issues on behalf of foster carers with the Fostering Service. Foster Carers also had access to a 24 hour fostering helpline. The training programme was evaluated and revised on an annual basis and foster carers were encouraged to further their education.

 

The service continued to hold regular monthly recruitment events with support from current foster carers and social workers and had various other planned activity throughout the year for example advertising on buses. The Panel asked that information be provided on which activities provided the best recruitment outcomes.

Action: Group Leader Permanence Service / Permanence Group Leader

 

The Group Leader also said that the Mockingbird Family Model pilot programme, for which the Royal Borough of Greenwich Fostering Service had been selected as one of only two London local authorities, had received positive feedback. That it encouraged a view of ‘one community’ amongst foster carers and the other professionals they liaised with. 

 

The Panel asked for a breakdown of where foster carers for Greenwich children were situated. The Group Leader replied that 59% were in Greenwich, 26% Bexley, 7% Lewisham, 5% West Kent (Dartford) and 3% Bromley.

 

The Panel questioned how many children were fostered in Greenwich from other boroughs, to which the Group Leader responded that two foster carers were looking after children from other boroughs. Royal Borough of Greenwich charged the local authority responsible for the care of these children.

 

The Panel questioned if any of the Borough’s foster carers had any interest in the newly formed Trade Union. To which the Group Leader responded that three had attended the first meeting held at Westminster, and one of them had become a media spokesperson for the Union.

 

Councillor Mardner paid tribute to the leadership of the fostering team and said that he had seen a significant change in the quality of reporting and organisation, and that he was proud to be a member of the Fostering Panel.

 

Councillor Brooks asked how Royal Borough of Greenwich contributed towards the Foster Carers Christmas party, which was by a grant from the Greenwich Foster Carer’s Association, and in his capacity as Chair of GS Plus made an offer of some assistance for 2017.

 

The Panel asked that their thanks be conveyed to the Fostering Panel for all their work.

 

Resolved:

 

1.     That the annual report from the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Fostering Service 2015-16 be noted.

 

2.     That the priorities for action 2016-17 be noted.

 

Councillor Peter Brooks and Councillor Spencer Drury left the meeting. (8.00pm)

Supporting documents: