Policy Forum for Wales

Supporting vulnerable children in Wales: improving outcomes for children at risk, looked after children and care leavers

Morning, Friday, 28th June 2019

Central Cardiff


The conference will assess the work of the Improving Outcomes for Children Ministerial Advisory Group - which was established to reduce the number of children taken into care with a focus on early intervention and improve outcomes for children already in care and care leavers.

Delegates will consider Phase 2 of the Group’s workplan, which looks at professional practice, assessing services on the edge of care and aims to build stable places for those in care.

Looking ahead to later phases, they will also consider the latest thinking in developing models of care which best keep families together and provide support for at-risk women.

We expect discussion on how such models can be targeted to the groups most in need - including the Group’s pilot scheme to support mothers with at-risk children, as well as its aim to assess Edge of Care services across all local authorities to identify key family support mechanisms - and examine how best practice can be shared.

The seminar also follows the Care experienced children and young people inquiry conducted by the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee which raised concerns surrounding access to mental health services, the number of changes of social workers throughout the period young people spend in care, and the negative effect of moving to different care placements such as changing foster carers.

Delegates will also discuss the impact of the Welsh Government’s announcement of £15m in funding to reduce the number of children in care and improve support.

The agenda also looks at the way forward for reducing the number of children going into care as well as how best to tackle the underlying causes of issues affecting their families - including early intervention and support measures such as specific guidance for reducing the number of looked after children taken from parents with learning disabilities.

Further sessions discuss effective after-care support for care leavers, following the Welsh Government’s commitment to exempt care leavers from paying council tax.

Delegates will assess progress made since the publication of the Children’s Commissioner’s Hidden Ambitions report which called for care leavers to be given access to support until 25 and an increased focus from local authorities on skills development to improve employment and training opportunities.

How to tackle inconsistent and infrequent support given to care-leavers through the development of ‘active offers’ for care leavers to support transition to independent living will also be considered, as well as supporting families of care-experienced children to prevent repeat interventions, and reducing the number of looked after children entering the youth justice system.

Attendees will also look at how the causes of variance in attainment across schools and local authorities can be identified and reduced, and will consider how best to promote overall child wellbeing and resilience.

With the Welsh Government encouraging more people to become foster carers following the establishment of a National Fostering Network for Wales across all regions, there will be discussion on the next steps in delivering greater training for foster parents and children - including testing and evaluating social pedagogy principals for foster carers.

Keynote Speaker

Sue Evans

Chief Executive, Social Care Wales


Senior speaker confirmed from Barnardo’s Cymru

Finn Madell

Interim Operational Manager, Strategic Partnerships and Safeguarding, Children’s Services, Cardiff Council

Elizabeth Bryan

Programmes Manager, The Fostering Network

Jane Sloggett

Deputy Head, Porthcawl Comprehensive School, Bridgend

Councillor Phillip White

Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help, Bridgend County Borough Council

Catriona Williams

Chief Executive, Children in Wales

Einir England

Advice & Money Team, Cardiff University