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 Inspection has revealed.

Councils’ self-assessment returns 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 target.

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

Despite a government push for more independence, the figures
show 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
said this would not be enough to meet the March 2006 target.

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 reveal
that the proportion of care leavers who are working, studying or
training at age 19 has risen 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 looked-after children from ethnic minorities.

More young people with physical disabilities are also being
supported to live at home, and extra care tenancies in 2003-4
exceeded council plans by 13 per cent.

The CSCI said there was a continued downward trend in delays for
people leaving hospital.

But this has been accompanied by a 21 per cent rise in the
number of people funded to leave hospital or access

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

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