Daily roundup: Early years, adoption support and foster care
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Birmingham Council delays childcare business charter plans; post-adoption support tops Martin Narey's priority list; and "Staying Put" duty comes in, all in the news today.
Birmingham City Council has delayed plans to require nurseries in the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sectors to sign a business charter for social responsibility if they wish to continue to receive funding to deliver the free childcare scheme. The proposals, which have been criticised by early years organisations and are being investigated by the Department for Education, would require providers to pay staff a “living wage” above levels many currently offer. The council said it has put back the introduction of the measure from April to September 2015.
Chair of the Adoption Leadership Board, Sir Martin Narey has said his key priority in the role is to improve post-adoption support. He told a debate on BBC Radio 5Live: “The most important thing for me is transforming adoption support Making sure that anyone who adopts, no matter when it happens, whether its next year or in ten years, they will be able to get the support that they need.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0435hwq
From today, local authorities will be required to offer fostered children aged 18 the opportunity to stay with their foster carers up until their 21st birthday. The new “Staying Put” duty was a key measure introduced under the Children and Families Act 2014.
Specially trained park wardens, librarians and street cleaners in the London borough of Westminster will be offering advice to members of the public about fostering during Foster Care Fortnight. The initiative will see Westminster City Council workers wearing ‘Ask me about fostering’ badges so that they can answer any questions residents have about fostering in Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea or Hammersmith & Fulham. The Fostering Network estimates that more than 1,000 new foster carers need to be recruited in London by the end of the year to meet the growing gap in demand.
A transport charity wants local authorities to ring-fence part of their budget to build dedicated cycling and walking routes to schools. Sustrans told the BBC that the move is needed to make the journey to school safer for children. A survey of parents it carried out showed 41 per cent reported their child has had a near-miss traffic accident going to or from school.
And finally, a TV production company is looking to recruit young people aged 18 to 23 who have a history of offending to take part in a programme that would see them live under a 1930s borstal regime for one month. ITV, which has been commissioned the four-part series, says is will look at whether young offemnders today can cope with the tough physical borstal regime of the 1930s and if the more punitive system would deter them from crime. Bring Back Borstal is set to air in 2015 and will be made by production company Wall to Wall.