Providing the best outcomes for children and young people in care

It is no secret that we have a vision for Central Bedfordshire to be a place where people can prosper, a place to be proud of and a place to call home.

One area where we have been making great strides to ensure this is a reality is within our Children’s Social Care Services. This includes vital services like our social work teams, fostering and adoption, early help, children’s centres, youth support services and our court teams.

Our aim is to ensure that families receive the support they need as early as possible, and in circumstances where we need to provide care for children and young people, that they aren’t just given a roof over their heads, but opportunities to develop and thrive in the future.

Earlier today, Ofsted published a report following an inspection of these services. It focused on the experiences of children who need help and protection, and the progress of those who are in care, or who have left care.

I am delighted to share that we received a ‘Good’ rating, and the inspectors note that they had seen improvements across the full range of our social work practice. This is especially impressive given the challenges we have faced during the pandemic, and I am delighted that we have not only sustained the quality of some our services, but improved others at the same time.

It was especially pleasing to see the support provided to foster carers and care leavers described as excellent, and the progress made by some of our unaccompanied asylum-seeking children described as hugely impressive.

The inspector also makes several references to how we are not only looking after children who are vulnerable, but we are also working collaboratively with partners to ensure that they have the best outcomes later in life, with care leavers supported with their accommodation, leisure, work and training, health and mental health needs.

The report follows our recent ‘Good’ Ofsted ratings secured by our children’s homes – Number 32 in January, and Maythorn and Kingfishers in July. I am really pleased by these outcomes, but I am also mindful that there is even more we can do and there are other parts of our services that aren’t up to this standard. We continue to work to improve all of our services and learn from the vital feedback we received from regulators like Ofsted, as we work to achieve our vision.

You can check out the Ofsted report here.

Further information about our services for children, young people and their families is available on the children and young people pages of the council’s website.