Ofsted praises council’s support for vulnerable care leavers
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The positive report comes after inspectors assessed the work of the authority’s children’s services department in March this year.
Inspectors looked at a range of evidence, including discussions with social workers, personal assistants and children and young people.
A report published by the regulator on May 9 states: “Leaders have developed a culture and expectation that children should receive a quality service from all departments across the local authority.
“There is an ambition to further develop services to respond to young people’s changing needs.”
The report describes staff as “tenacious” in building trust with care leavers, adding: “Workers put children and young people’s needs first so that they can support them at important times in their lives.
“Work to support transitions for young people with complex needs was recognised as a strength.”
The accommodation on offer to young people received strong feedback. Education, employment, and training were considered to be a particular strength.
The report also says: “Children know that there are trusted adults in their lives who are available when they need them.
“Children are helped as they approach adulthood with the early allocation of personal advisers. This allows relationships between the child and their worker to develop.
“They are listened to by their workers and their views inform their plans.”
Inspectors recommended that the council provides better access to the internet for young people.
It was the first Ofsted inspection of Wakefield’s children’s services since 2021, when it was rated as ‘good with outstanding leadership’.
The rating marked a highly successful three-year transformation of services.
A damning report in 2018 rated children’s services as inadequate. Inspectors said that vulnerable children in care had been put at risk.
Coun Margaret Isherwood, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “The voices of our children and young people help shape what we do, putting them at the heart of our services.
“Like all parents, we want to see the children in our care flourish and thrive as they grow into adulthood.
“We have continued to develop our care leaver service in response to what our young people want and need.
“We welcome the feedback from Ofsted and are pleased that these findings recognise the strong relationships we build with young people.”