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Friday 27 April 2018

National adviser praises council support for care leavers

A national adviser has praised Cheshire East Council after a visit to supporting young people leaving care.

The visit from Mark Riddell MBE – the government’s national implementation adviser for care leavers – was commissioned by children’s minister Nadhim Zahawi, in response to a change in government legislation.

The changes require local authorities to take on new responsibilities relating to their work with children in care and care leavers, following amendments to the Children and Social Care Work Act 2017.

A care leavers’ adviser was appointed to provide some insight into how councils were instigating these new changes. Cheshire East was one of the first local authorities to be visited and the findings were very favourable.

Mr Riddell found that:

· There is now a higher percentage of care leavers who are in employment, education and training;

· Care leavers’ transitions into adulthood are well tracked;

· Care leavers’ needs are identified quickly and responded to;

· Specialist staff are employed to support care leavers reach their goals; and

· The model of delivery is strong, ambitious and being driven by a team of very passionate workers.

Councillor Gill Merry, Cheshire East Council chair of the corporate parenting committee, said: “This report is a great credit not only to the many determined and hard-working people employed within the care leavers team but also the care leavers themselves, who sometimes have to overcome very difficult starts in life.”

Councillor Jos Saunders, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for children and families, said: “I am very pleased with the outcome of this report which demonstrates what I already know – namely that we have incredibly committed and brilliant people working within the services we provide to children and young people in care and leaving care.

“We are not resting on our laurels, though, and we are looking forward to welcoming Mr Riddell back in the autumn, when he will be able to view even more improvements that we will have made by that time.”

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