Wakefield kids in care enjoying more stability as moves between placements fall

Children in care in Wakefield are increasingly likely to have a stable home for longer, senior council officers have revealed.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 4:58 pm

In 2016, nearly a fifth of all youngsters in the care of the local authority had moved between three or more different households.

Ofsted later described the situation as "poor", with local children suffering far more disruption than those living in other parts of the country.

Now, however, the number of kids who are forced to move more than twice between homes has fallen to around 11 per cent, which is in line with other areas.

Children in the care of the council are now moving between households less.

Wakefield Council said a net gain in foster carers in 2020 had helped, although they are still keen to recruit more.

Cheryl Whitehouse, the head of the council's children in care service, said most children in care will live in at least two different households as the authorities try to find the best place for them.

But she said there were sometimes good reasons why youngsters were moved on even more.

Speaking at a corporate parenting committee meeting on Wednesday, she said: "We're always reviewing children's care plans and part of that is asking, 'Can this child be rehomed with friends and family?'

The number of foster carers on the council's books rose last year.

"We're always looking to do that if we can.

"There are some placements with foster carers which aren't good for our children.

"We want the best for our children and so we do hold foster carers to account. If things don't improve then sometimes we'll have to move that child on."

Ms Whitehouse said that of around 640 children currently in the care of the council, about 70 will have moved more than twice.

She said the authority would always rather place a child with foster carers than in a children's home.

She added: "We always want to recruit more foster carers.

"That's a national issue, we all want more.

"But we did have a net gain in foster carers last year despite the pandemic, which was very positive."

Local Democracy Reporting Service