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Profit Making and Risk in Independent Children’s Social Care Placement Providers

Local authorities in England spend more than £2bn a year buying fostering and children's homes services alone from private and voluntary sector organisations (collectively referred to as the independent sector). Local authorities themselves continue to provide most foster placements, but around two in every five foster placements are made with independent sector providers. In children's homes the reverse is true. Here, three in every four placements are made in the independent sector.

Children's Homes Research

The concerns of London local authorities in meeting sufficiency duties described in the first study and the severity of this in relation to residential children's homes, are recognised as a theme across the country. This study was commissioned by the LGA to look at the policies, barriers, and facilitators for local authorities and smaller independent providers in establishing children's homes.

Review of Sufficiency Strategies in London

Demand for children's services has been increasing nationally in recent years. Changing demographics and evolving complexity of needs are also exerting cost pressures on local authorities. At the same time suitable accommodation is in short supply in the regulated children's homes sector and there are concerns about the increased use of unregulated placements. The situation is particularly acute in London.

Machine learning in children’s services: does it work?

What Works for Children’s Social Care worked with four local authorities to develop models to predict eight outcomes for individual cases. The predictions all focused on a point within the children’s journey where the social worker would be making a decision about whether to intervene in a case or not and the level of intervention required, and looked ahead to see whether the case would escalate at a later point.