Looked after children / Care leavers

Looked After Children Teams

Social Workers in the Looked After Children Team’s work with children and young people up to their 18th birthday who become looked after when their birth parents are unable to provide ongoing care in either a temporary or permanent capacity.

Some children will be looked after when a parent agrees for the Local Authority to provide accommodation for their child, usually on a short term basis to assist a family crisis. However, for many of our children, the court will have made the decision that the child can no longer live with their own family and that they will be looked after on a long term basis.

Most of our children live with Foster Carers and Kinship carers however a small number live in children’s homes and some stay with their parents. Some of our older young people may live in supported accommodation. The role of a Looked After Children Social worker involves working closely with the child and relevant others including parents, carers and health and education professionals, to make sure that a child or young person has a clear care plan that is informed by the voice of the child. The aim is to ensure that the child receives appropriate support and services including care, education and health. Social Workers within this service area enjoy the opportunity of building strong long term relationships with children and young people through direct work. Their work helps children to understand their past, manage the present and build a future as a happy and healthy adult.

The Looked After Children Team Service is located in central Walsall in the same building as the Leaving Care Team. This helps us make sure that young people have the best journey through to adulthood that they can. There are four Looked After Children’s teams, each with between 5 and 6 social workers. Each Team has a nominated Team manager and an Assistant Team Manager. There is a strong emphasis on supporting our social workers in their day to day practice, in their career and professional development and we have a well embedded programme for supporting recently qualified social workers.

Leaving Care:

Our Leaving Care Service provides support and advice for young people aged 18 and over who were in the care of the local authority for over 13 weeks after their 14th birthday some of which was on or following their 16th birthday. We support young people up to the age of 21 or up to 25 if the young person is engaged in education or training.

The team develops pathway plans with the young people as a means of supporting them to develop the skills and knowledge needed to reach their potential and become independent and resilient adults.

We have an active participation forum where the young people support the service in developing ideas that can help our young people achieve their potential. We have a young person working with us to help develop this forum and its activity. Here is a link to our web site: http://tlcnewbelongings.co.uk/

We hold a drop in for our young people where there is a structured programme of activity which focuses on practical skills and confidence and self esteem work. We also have a young people’s job club which is supported by our Personal Advisors and specialist education and training staff . This is a weekly session to support young people develop the skills that will enable them to apply for jobs or access training. Drop in and job club are open to young people aged 16 up to 25.

We are a team of 8 personal advisors one of whom has a focus on supporting our young people to access education, employment or training. We work very closely with the Local Authority Supported Housing Team to help young people access suitable and safe accommodation. We also have access to a specialist health worker and a benefits advisor.