Paper to address placement stability

The forthcoming green paper on looked-after children is likely to cover placement stability and building local capacity as well as educational achievement, Community Care has learned.

Sources said the green paper, expected late this month or in April, would look at how local authorities could offer better placement choice by supporting the development of the provider base.

But its main focus is expected to be on raising educational achievement, with the Department for Education and Skills convinced educational outcomes have a significant impact on future well-being.

The department is thought to be more comfortable dealing with educational issues than wider social concerns, but it will also seek to define more fully the role of a good corporate parent.

Paul Fallon, co-chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services children and families committee, said the green paper should suggest giving authorities more help in recruiting foster carers, particularly in areas of high housing costs.

He added that performance indicators could be smarter, taking account of improvement over time rather than focusing purely on exam results.

Fostering Network chief executive Robert Tapsfield said the green paper should recognise that foster carers were the most important people in the system, not the least important.

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