Children Looked After (CLA) JSNA published

JSNA logosThe Children Looked After (CLA) JSNA has recently been approved and is another needs assessment published from the JSNA’s current work programme.

The recommendations from the needs assessment are currently being worked into an action plan to inform practice, service development and the commissioning of services to support children looked after in Warwickshire to improve their lives and future opportunities.

This needs assessment is intended to provide insight to better understand Warwickshire’s profile of children looked after. This work dovetails closely with the Prevention JSNA aimed at preventing and reducing the numbers of children coming into care which is due to be approved in July 2016.

Some of the key messages from the needs assessment include:

  • The number of Children Looked After (CLA) in Warwickshire has risen by 8% over the last four years (to 31 March 2015). The CLA rate in the county is higher than the equivalent national and statistical neighbour averages but lower than the regional rate (see page 15).
  • There is significant variation in CLA rates across the county. At district/borough level, Nuneaton & Bedworth has significantly higher rates than Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick (see page 17).
  • There has been consistent numbers of children coming into care and the data suggests that the rate of entry is higher than the rate of children leaving care, so the numbers of children and young people in care in Warwickshire is rising (see page 25).
  • Population projections indicate that if the rate of CLA remains the same, by 2025 Warwickshire will have 50 more children looked after than at March 2015 (see page 29).
  • Research from Sheffield University suggests an ‘inverse care law’ in that more affluent Local Authorities intervene in children’s lives more than relatively disadvantaged Local Authorities for the same level of deprivation. When compared with its statistical neighbours, Warwickshire has the third highest CLA rate in 2015, yet is the 8th most deprived out of its 11 statistical neighbours so there may appear to be some truth in this from a Warwickshire perspective (see page 21).
  • Warwickshire consistently has a higher proportion of UASC in its CLA population compared to the national average (see page 34).
  • Warwickshire has higher proportions of CLA placed in independent living and residential settings (children’s homes, residential schools) than 5 years ago (see page 41).
  • The rise in CLA over the last five years has been greater than the rate of growth in local authority fostering services. As a result, a higher proportion of CLA are now placed with agency carers than five years ago (see page 41).
  • At March 2015, just under 65% of CLA were placed within Warwickshire and over nine in ten (91%) CLA were placed either in Warwickshire or in a neighbouring local authority (see page 45).
  • The proportion of CLA placed in foster care placements out of county increases with age, suggesting that Warwickshire has fewer foster placements than the county requires for older CLA (see page 44).
  • Educational attainment for CLA remains lower than for their non-looked after peers even at the earliest stage of assessment (see page 59 onwards).
  • CLA have the same core health needs as their non-looked after peers, but their background and experiences are likely to make them more vulnerable to poorer health outcomes (see page 67).
  • The proportion of CLA continuing to be looked after following their 16th birthday has increased over the last five years, from 45% to 69% (see page 81).

The needs assessment and presentations are available below:

For more information on this work, please contact JSNA inbox (jsna@warwickshire.gov.uk)

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