A NEW strategic framework will come into force at the end of the month and will endeavour to make the lives of  Powys County Council’s (PCC) Children’s Looked After, (CLA), better.

The framework is a part of the response to the damning report the service received from the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) in October 2017 which said that children were being “placed at risk”.

PCC has seen a significant increase of CLA in just over two years

On April 30, 2017, the number stood at 160. By May 31, 2019  the number had increased to 244.

This has led to financial problems for Children’s Services as well as putting a strain on finding the right carers for children.

Head of Children’s Services, Jan Coles, said: “The strategic framework has been developed to set out Powys’ aspirations, intent and vision for improving outcomes for children who are looked after.

“It sets out the principle that bringing a child into our care should be a last resort after all other options have been explored .

“We acknowledge that we must intervene at the earliest opportunity to ensure that children and young people do not suffer harm.

“Where children cannot remain at home it is critical that we act decisively and effectively to improve the lives if each individual child or young person.”

Ms Coles said: “Powys has a significant amount of work to do to implement the changes required to meet the aspirations we have for children who are looked after.

“This framework will enable us to realise and mobilise the work, accelerate this change and secure alternatives to children becoming looked after.”

Portfolio holder for Young People and Culture, Cllr Rachel Powell (Independent – Beguildy), said:  “By working in partnership we can deliver the services children and young people need to live safe, happy, healthy and successful lives.”

Central to the framework are five themes:

  • Permanence
  • Closer to home and edge of care
  • Leaving care
  • Sufficient supply of high quality care placements
  • Participation and voice

The reasons for children becoming looked after in Powys are numerous and include:

  • abuse or neglect
  • family in acute stress
  • family dysfunction
  • parental disability or illness
  • disability or illness
  • adoption disruption
  • socially unacceptable behaviour
  • absent parenting

Since October 2017, £12 million has been pumped into the department to right the problems,

In case of further issues a backstop of between £3 million to £8 million has been worked into next year’s budget.