To consider report of the Chief Officer Social Services
Annabel Lloyd introduced the item and apologised for the delay in the report being brought to the committee due to circumstances beyond their control.
Angela Harris then highlighted a number key performance data points within the report and briefly highlighted some general findings, which were of interest to the committee.
The following questions were raised by the committee and were responded to in detail by the officers in attendance.
The chair highlighted that the report was very positive and different to the Annual Report last year.
The Cabinet Member for Social Services echoed the Chairs comments and thanked the officers for all the excellent work that is been carried out in adoption services. Councillor Davies also highlighted a number of the key headlines from Appendix One.
· Can you confirm that the service is now fully staffed
· Clarification was sort in relation to the figures on page 15 relating to the number of adoptive placements and the number of children waiting who had not been placed.
· The report states that 43% of adoption referrals were withdrawn, can you explain why they were withdrawn and who is responsible for making the withdrawal
· The report states that 65% of placements were made within the region, 9% elsewhere in Wales and 26% outside of Wales. Can you explain the reason 26% of placements were outside of Wales
· Can you explain to the committee why the Merthyr Tydfil figures in the graph on Page 28 (children who have waited longer than 6 months for SBA to Match) are significantly lower than other regions
· The report highlights that on average children are placed within 17.1 months, are the reasons for this timescale out of the local authorities control
· Can you explain to the committee how you support families that are currently waiting to adoption
· Can you explain to the committee what is meant by the term “open letterbox cases”
· Do parents of the adopted children have to take part in the letterbox scheme
· Can you provide more information in relation to the new finding family scheme, Adopting Together that has been set up by St David’s Adoption Agency and Barnardos. The report states that ten referrals were made to the scheme and six children have been placed on a spot purchase basis. What is “spot purchase basis”
· The committee commended the work being carried out around Marketing, but raised concern that the majority of events were held outside of the County Borough of Merthyr Tydfil
· Letterbox Cases – It was stated that a small number of children are allowed physical contact with close family members, is this something that the family would request during the court process and is it encouraged by The Vale, Valleys and Cardiff Adoption Collaborative (VVC)
· What percentage of Foster Carers go on to adopt
The information requested on the percentage of Foster Carers who go on to adopt will be sent out by email to the committee members
The Chair thanked the Officers for the report and the responses that were provided to the committees questions.