The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing presented a report which:
The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing provided background on the pressures that local authorities under Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health Board faced and continue to face each year with regards to recruiting and maintaining foster carers. She explained that each year, many carers leave for a variety of reasons. Insufficient numbers of Local Authority foster carers and meant an increase in use of Independent Fostering Agency (IFA) carers which often meant additional costs to BCBC. She added that there were currently 127 foster carers in Bridgend.
The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing stated that there was a current vacancy within BCBC for a full time development officer with responsibility for some recruitment and marketing activity, including the development of a recruitment strategy.
The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing explained that a partnership between Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCTCBC) and Merthyr Tydfil (MTCBC) was established in early 2019, whereby an operation for a Regional Front Door system was established for the recruitment of foster carers. The performance was indicated at section 3 of the report and evidenced a successful increase in recruiting foster carers since 2019. She added that by further investing in the area of marketing and recruitment and bringing these front door functions together, on a collaborative basis (and providing dedicated staff to the role of recruitment and marketing), this would replicate good practice in independent agencies, improve the responsiveness towards enquiries, completing initial visit pre assessment screening within an appropriate time and the number of applicants reaching assessment. It was anticipated that this would result in an increase in the number of approved foster carers.
The Corporate Director Social Services and Wellbeing outlined a range of options that were considered by the regional strategic group which were set out in section 4 of the report. The exact arrangements were to be set out in the collaborative agreement and outline the financial implications as indicated at section 8 of the report.
The Leader welcomed the report and stated that it was pleasing to see the level of collaborative working between BCBC and our partners. The importance of receiving enquiries and having the ability to quickly provide responses was paramount. He explained that there were other providers out there but we wanted to promote our in-house provision for fostering and this system would allow us to further provide a more effective service. He added that we had recently put on virtual events to promote the fostering particularly among the LGBTQ+ community and had seen significant success on this. He added that who ever wanted to foster, if they could provide a loving home for children then we wanted to hear from you, no matter the sexuality, relationship, personal circumstances etc.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet: