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Agenda Item No 15

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting: 21st May 2018


Report of the Cabinet Member for Social Care, Health and Leisure


Developing a Therapeutic Fostering Service in partnership with Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan University Health Board

Purpose of the Report

  1. To obtain authority for undertaking, with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, a partnership which will provide a therapeutic fostering service for children and young people looked after and their carers.


It is recommended that :

  1. Authority is given for the Council to enter into a formal partnership agreement with the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
  2. The Contract Procedure Rules be waived (Regulations 17.4.2 (a)) to enable the Council to enter into a partnership with the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board for the provision of a bespoke service.
  3. The Head of Legal Services be authorised to agree the terms of a partnership agreement with the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board on the basis of a two year fixed contract.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1&2.    To enable the provision in the Vale of Glamorgan of a therapeutic fostering service.

3.        To comply with the Council's Contract Procedure Rules and Financial Regulations.


  1. The aim of the service is to provide support to children and young people looked after and their carers. Parenting therapeutically is about recognising adverse childhood experiences and supporting carers to provide high structure/high nurture parenting that enables feelings of safety and connectedness so that a traumatised child can begin to heal and attach. Providing this service to our children looked after and their carers will promote placement stability, prevent placement breakdown and support children looked after to achieve their potential.
  2. As part of its Corporate Strategy for Children who need Care and Support  2016 -2019, the Vale of Glamorgan Council has recognised the need to give children looked after clearly planned journeys through care and to provide a range of high quality placements.  Both these objectives link with the importance of the Council being able to promote placement stability for children looked after.
  3. In the context of both ensuring individual outcomes and the significant challenges associated with placement availability, our ability to achieve placement stability is paramount.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Children looked after have complex and varied needs. Having determined the need for a child to become looked after, the Authority has a responsibility to seek to provide them with suitable and consistent care for the period they are looked after.  This may be in a foster placement provided by the local authority, a foster placement commissioned externally, a residential placement, or within their wider family where family members have been assessed and approved as kinship carers.  The first choice would always be placement within a child's family, and following that with the Authority's own foster carers.  To achieve and maintain these placements, the child and carer will require support and in many instances would benefit from support to be parented and to parent therapeutically.
  2. The Authority has piloted on a small scale the commissioning of a psychologist together with two support staff.  This small scale pilot very quickly established the benefits of therapeutic parenting, but was unsustainable because of difficulties in maintaining the services of the psychologist on a temporary arrangement.
  3. This difficulty has prompted us to explore with the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, the opportunity to expand the small dedicated developmental trauma service they currently provide for children looked after with monies invested by Welsh Government in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), to develop a therapeutic fostering service for children looked after and their carers in the Vale of Glamorgan.
  4. Building on an existing service with a current partner is considered the best and most appropriate way to move this forward.  This will develop a bespoke service that cannot readily be provided elsewhere given it involves a service already in place, onto which the additional element will build.  As a partner organisation, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have worked flexibly and responsively with us in developing the developmental trauma service to meet the needs of children and carers in the Vale of Glamorgan and are committed to supporting the Authority through the employment of additional psychology staff, which has been problematic for the Authority as a non-Health employer who does not provide psychological services.
  5. This partnership would maintain the Health funded element and add additional funds which would enhance the service offered within the Vale of Glamorgan.  The staff would be employed by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, who would provide the necessary clinical oversight and permanence that was lacking in our pilot scheme.
  6. The staffing proposal would build on the existing Vale of Glamorgan allocation within the development trauma service of 0.2wte clinical psychology time and 0.2wte graduate mental health time to create a therapeutic fostering service with an allocation of 1.2wte clinical psychology time and 1.0wte graduate mental health time.  The service specification would include provision for both direct therapeutic work, and consultation for social workers, carers and multi-agency groups.  The service would be delivered flexibly at home, at school or in the community depending on what is most appropriate for the child and the carer.
  7. Following authority to proceed and the establishment of a legal agreement, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board would commence recruitment for the relevant staff.  It is anticipated this would be on the basis of a two year fixed contract in line with the initial intended period of the agreement.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. Costs for the service will be funded by Children and Young People Services.  It is anticipated that the service will cost £81,516 per annum, which includes an element of administrative time and non-staff costs, and approximately £7,500 for one off set up costs. This can be funded from within the existing budget allocation.  A service specification will be developed with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board which will identify the level of service we can expect based upon the amount of professional resource we are purchasing and the interventions we require them to complete.
  2. It is important these costs are understood in the context of the cost of placing children in foster and residential care, which range from £159 to £350 per child per week for in house foster care, £690 to £1200 per child per week for external foster care and £2650 to £5500 per child per week for residential care.
  3. The therapeutic fostering service extends beyond the remit of the health service. This service will support the Directorate's goals associated with placement stability for children, recruitment and retention of foster carers

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. Being able to sustain and make best use of our placement resources is central to managing the resources of Children and Young People Services.

Legal Implications (to include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The agreement will be drafted by Legal Services and it will be necessary for a formal partnership agreement to be entered into and executed by the Head of Legal Services.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no crime and disorder implications for this pilot project.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The service will deliver in a manner that will:
  • Be inclusive and accessible to young people with a range of needs.
  • Ensure that young people are assessed as individuals, with their unique strengths recognised, and receive a service tailored to meet their assessed needs.
  1. It will be a requirement of the terms and conditions of the legal agreement that Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is committed to developing service users' choice in the use of the Welsh Language, as appropriate, in compliance with the Vale of Glamorgan Council's Welsh Language Scheme.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. This report is consistent with the following Corporate and Service Objectives of the Council:
  • Corporate Plan Wellbeing Outcome 1, Objective 2 - To provide decent homes and safe communities - to provide appropriate accommodation and support services for particular vulnerable groups.
  • Children and Young People Services' Service Plan - CS/A014 - Conclude the pilot of our Therapeutic Fostering Scheme and undertake a cost/benefit analysis

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This service is in line with the requirements of the Council's Corporate Strategy for Children and Young People who need Care and Support; and is a matter for Executive Decision by the Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Young people living in any part of the Vale of Glamorgan will be able to use this service and so no individual ward member consultation has been undertaken.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Healthy Living and Social Care

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Rachel Evans, Head of Children and Young People Services


Officers Consulted

Karen Conway, Operational Manager, Children and Young People Services

Mike Walsh, Legal Services

Responsible Officer

Lance Carver, Director of Social Services