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Conservative Surrey must take more care

December 7, 2011 1:30 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

ChildrenLiberal Democrats on Surrey County Council are presenting a motion to next week's Full Council raising concerns about the County's performance with regard to child adoption and children in care.

Liberal Democrat leader of the Opposition Cllr Hazel Watson says:

"The Child in Care and Adoption Performance Tables published last month by the Department for Education show many major failings by Surrey County Council. Just taking two of the most concerning findings for Surrey County Council in the tables: Surrey came 139th out of 152 in the proportion of young people aged 19 who were looked after aged 16 who were in suitable accommodation, only 9 councils performed worse, and 2 of those - Rutland and the Isles of Scilly - had no figures reported.

"Surrey also came 111th in the percentage of children looked after continuously for 12 months who achieved at least level 4 at Key Stage 2 in both English and Mathematics.

"If the Conservative-led Council cannot ensure the children in its care have a decent roof over their head and receive an education that prepares them for later life it is failing those children.

"When presenting the Budget Monitoring Report to the Cabinet on 1 November, the same day as the tables were published, the Leader of the Council said; 'Our number one priority is looked after children'. At the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Communities Select Committee on 16 November the Leader restated that looked after children are his personal priority. It is time for the Leader to ensure Surrey's Children in Care and adopted children are not left wanting."

NOTES:

1. The league tables can be found here (Excel spreadsheet).

2. The text of the motion (proposed by Hazel Watson, seconded by Fiona White) reads:

On 18 November the Cabinet Member for Children and Families sent out two emails to Members highlighting some good news about Surrey's Adoption Service in the light of National Adoption Week.

However, the Child in Care and Adoption Performance Tables, published by the Department for Education on 1November 2011, showed many major failings by Surrey County Council in its performance for children in care and adoption services.

In fifteen key indicators, Surrey was in the bottom half of the country in nine, and in the bottom quartile in four.

Council calls for urgent action to:

Ensure that looked after children have a stable home life with a minimal number of placements and that they are fully supported so that they fulfil their full potential in education, training and employment.Ensure that young adults who were formerly looked after are living in suitable accommodation.Strive to maximise the number of looked after children who are adopted and to improve the speed of adoption.

Council calls on the Leader to establish a cross party Member Working Group to urgently examine the issues highlighted by the Department for Education performance tables and to learn from the best practice of other authorities.