The Corporate Parenting Officer presented a
report on the developments over the past year of the Corporate
Parenting Strategy and Action Plan.
Cllr Mrs Christine Mills enquired as to the
work undertaken to increase aspirations of Looked After Children to attend university. The Corporate
Parenting Officer reported on the work with the Black Country
Authorities, Wolverhampton University and a local charity,
“Creative Chances” where at Year 6, those Looked After Children
who had attained level 4 or above were encouraged to aspire to
attend university. The programme provided a mentor who was
attending university to support the aspiration. Additional homework
was set and social activities arranged.
Cllr Peter O’Neill referred to the
proposal to produce a guide for foster carers such as at what age
to have a mobile phone and expressed concern that this could cause
an issue with foster carers if the guidance was at odds with their
views. The Head of Looked After Children
advised that the guide would be produced in consultation with
foster carers and would only be a guide where exceptions were
acceptable. The intention was to address safeguarding issues. Cllr
Peter O’Neill acknowledged the response and explained that he
was keen to ensure that Looked After
Children were not stigmatised by having or not having a mobile
phone at the same age as their peers. The Corporate Parenting
Officer commented that it was hoped to provide re-assurance to
foster carers and to identify a suitably balanced position. In
response to a further question from Cllr Peter O’Neill she
reported that the guide would be developed in consultation with all
relevant partner agencies including schools.
Cllr Peter O’Neill questioned whether
the views of the Transport Authority or Bus Operators would be
sought in relation to the age at which a child could catch a bus by
themselves. The Corporate Parenting Officer advised that a number
of courses were available which provided information on such issues
including acceptable behaviour, courtesy, safe places to sit etc.
She reported that the guide would be produced during 2016/17.
The Chair suggested that the guide be produced
in chapters rather than as a single document thus enabling some
information to be readily available sooner than other parts. Cllr
Hazel Malcolm suggested that the guide be made available on the
website as well as in hard copy format. The Corporate Parenting
Officer advised that it would be included in the Foster
Cllr Hazel Malcolm offered to work with the
Corporate Parenting Officer on guidance on finance matters in light
of her work with a Credit Union.
The Chair questioned the appropriateness of
“drop in” sessions being held on Friday afternoons
given that the Looked After Children
should be at school or college or work at that time. The Corporate
Parenting Officer undertook to consider this issue further but
explained that this was a popular time for Looked After Children to collect money etc.
The Chair referred to a number of errors and
omissions in Section 3.5 of the ...
view the full minutes text for item 8.