Services for looked-after children and older people set to miss targets

The government is unlikely to meet all its targets for services
for looked after children and older people, the Commission for
Social Care Inspectorate has revealed, writes Shirley

Councils’ self-assessment forms collated by the
inspectorate to be fed into this year’s star ratings show
that the number of looked-after children leaving school at 16 with
at least five GCSEs at grade A*-C in 2003 fell to 7.2 per cent
– still way short of the government’s 15 per cent

The number of looked-after children whose cases are dealt with
by named qualified social worker has also fallen substantially,
particularly in the shires and unitary councils.

Despite a government push for greater independence, the figures
reveal a fall in the number of older people helped to live at home.
Although within this there has been a “steady increase”
in the proportion of intensive home care to residential care, the
CSCI admitted that this would not be enough to meet the March 2006

CSCI chair Denise Platt also warned that the “thin spread
of adult mental health services” was threatening to undermine
the children’s agenda due to a lack of services to tackle
issues arising from parents’ mental health problems.

On a more positive note, the self-assessment data also reveals
that the proportion of care leavers who are working, studying or
training at age 19 has gone up by 8 per cent, the stability of
placements for looked-after children is slowly increasing, and
there has been a good growth in the number of culturally sensitive
services for ethnic minority looked-after children.

More young people with physical disabilities are also being
supported to live at home, and extra care tenancies in 2003/2004
exceeded council plans by 13 per cent.

The CSCI said there was a continued downward trend in delays in
people leaving hospital. However, this has been accompanied by a 21
per cent rise in the number of people funded to leave hospital or
access rehabilitation.

The full star-ratings for social services departments will be
announced in November.


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