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Care targets are not met
12:00pm Saturday 15th September 2012 in News
Figures released by Wiltshire Council show it is falling behind on targets for completing assessments for vulnerable children, and getting care leavers into education or employment.
The report showed only 33 per cent of initial assessments were carried out within ten days, substantially below the target of 80 per cent, while 53 per cent of young people leaving care were in suitable education, jobs or training, against a target of 72 per cent.
Council cabinet members have blamed the poor performance on a large increase in referrals of children to social care, with 1,113 in April-June last year, and 1,544 for the same period this year.
It means the council may have to spend an extra £1.8 million on children’s services this year, unless plans to reduce the number of children requiring care in future are effective.
Coun John Brady, cabinet member for finance, said: “We are planning to review all cases going into care and see if we can reduce the numbers using other measures.
“We are expecting to see that £1.8 million figure come down, but it is unlikely to happen quickly as these cases are so complex and delicate. If the circumstances demand it, a child will be taken into care. We will not be cutting corners.
“We are looking at better ways of doing these things after we had our bad Ofsted report earlier this year.”
Other measures the council hopes will cut the numbers of young people coming into care include a new Family Support Service, and appointing more support workers.
The council has met 14 of 27 performance targets assessed this quarter, including providing new affordable homes, increasing recycling and reducing the average time taken to repair potholes.
The report showed another four targets were almost achieved – within five per cent of the target – meaning the council is almost on track of helping to create 6,000 new jobs in Wiltshire, and safeguarding 8,000 existing jobs, by March 2015.