Children in care - Ofsted

PUBLISHED: 10:00 30 June 2012

Somerset County Council

Somerset County Council

Copyright Archant Ltd

CHILDREN taken into care are not getting the same employment opportunities, according to an Ofsted report into Somerset County Council services.

The ‘sobering’ report outlined that the number of youngsters in care who go on to employment or higher education is ‘inadequate’ in the county.

It also highlighted the number of children receiving health checks on entering care as below minimum requirements.

Overall, the report said the council’s children’s care services are ‘adequate’, rating 15 of 18 aspects as meeting expected standards, with one rated as ‘good’ and two ‘inadequate’.

The report pointed to the general improvement of primary schools’ standards in the region, as well as the standard of GCSEs for 16-year-olds as two of the council’s strengths.

But it also revealed the lack of educational attainment for young people in low-income families is lower than the national average in Somerset.

Further calls for improvement from Ofsted came regarding the number of young people housed in bed and breakfast accommodation, numbers of young people with drug and alcohol abuse issues and contingency planning.

Chief executive Sheila Wheeler said: “The council aspires to so much more than being ‘adequate’ in how we deliver services to children in our care. Safeguarding and coping with increasing numbers of children coming into our care has been our priority.

“This Ofsted report makes sobering reading, and is a wake-up call to broaden our focus.

“Our politicians have made clear their intention to hold officers to account in ensuring a drive towards better outcomes and higher standards for these children.

“We have taken immediate steps to bring about the improvements necessary and we are working with our partners to drive through these changes.”

Council leader John Osman said: “We acknowledge Ofsted’s comments, both positive and critical and we will take swift action where it is called for.”

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