Sandwell's children's services takes another step forward
Published on 3rd September 2012
A drive to improve children's services in Sandwell has received a boost after a Government watchdog judged fostering for hundreds of young people in the borough is getting better.
Council chiefs have welcomed Ofsted's verdict - and pledged further progress across the board to give young people the best start in life.
In their report Ofsted said children and young people who have been fostered feel safe, secure and experience positive care.
It added the council has a clear plan to recruit and increase the number and expertise of foster carers.
And it quoted a professional who works with the fostering service, who said: "Overall, it is an improving picture compared to about 18 months ago.".
The verdict comes shortly after the council's children's safeguarding service also scored an improved Ofsted rating.
Cabinet member for children and families Councillor Bob Badham said: "Ofsted inspections are much tougher these days so I am pleased our improvements have been recognised.
"We took action after a poor report on fostering 18 months ago and the service is now rated adequate.
"There has been progress but our goal is to offer excellent children's services so clearly there is much more to do.
"We will remain focussed on improvements and have already made a number of changes to build on the momentum we have."The council is on track to appoint an external partner to supply an interim Director of Children's Services and a full package of support.
The partnership is expected to last up to 30 months and will largely be paid for by savings in top management costs at the council.
Ofsted made five recommendations on fostering, including better record keeping and ensuring all children know their rights, which the council will implement.
At the time of the inspection the service had approved 337 foster carers and provided 303 places for children and young people.