Walsall Council to adopt new plan for children in care
Care bosses in Walsall are set to implement a scheme that will give families of children at risk a greater say in decisions about their care.
Members of Walsall Council’s corporate parenting board agreed to support the adoption of the Family Group Conference (FGC) and Lifelong Links model at a meeting held on Monday.
The aim of the FGC and lifelong links scheme is for the local authority to work with family members and friends to find a solution to help children who are at risk and ensure they are safe.
Care bosses say it will also enable families to have a say in any care plans put together for vulnerable children and young people.
The lifelong links element enables the tracing of extended family members to be brought into the fold for children in care.
Members of the board agreed to support the plan to implement an all FGC service by 2020-21.
The board was told that presently, Dudley Council is the only local authority in the Black Country to have adopted the FGC model.
A pilot scheme held in Edinburgh saw the city council work with 32 young people over a period of 14 months from January 2017 and resulted in three generations of family connections being mapped out for each of 30 of the children.
A report to the board said: “FGC recognises the rights and responsibilities of families and communities to make decisions about their children and provides a framework for families to exercise this responsibility.
“The FGC offers the council and the family a way of working together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.
“It is the family who makes the plan to meet the needs of the child, after first being told what concerns and issues a plan will need to address, what resources are available and what will happen if the situation does not change.”
It added: “Evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that lifelong links and having one trusted supportive adult through life is the key to permanence and resilience for our young people.”
Councillor Tim Wilson, Walsall Council’s portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “I’m always in favour of working with families rather than dictating to them.”
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