More Highland Children Returned From Out Of Area Placements
16th August 2021
Members updated on the positive outcomes being delivered by the Placement Services Change Programme within Highland
Members of Wednesday's Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee received an update on the progress on the Placement Services Change Programme from the Executive Chief Officer of the Health and Social Care directorate, Fiona Duncan.
The programme was initially set-up to return Looked After Children from Out of Area Placements to ensure that children and young people were living in their local community receiving the help and support they need, whilst maintaining contact with families and friends.
Committee members were informed that since 2018, 53 young people have been able to return to the Highlands. Highland Council is now at the lowest level in over 8 years with only 18 children being looked after out of area. This has been a result of working closely with social work, housing, education and health colleagues to ensure that appropriate resources are available within the Highlands which meet the needs of young people.
Highland Council is now looking at how children and young people, where appropriate, can continue to remain living at home. This package of work will involve improved engagement and working with families - including extended families – and provision of ‘wrap around support’ through making the appropriate support available both during the day and at night and weekends.
Additionally, as part of a wider redesign being undertaken within the Service and taking on board the key components of The Promise, officers are actively looking at how to improve the service so that more children remain in the family home.
Chair of the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee, Councillor Linda Munro, said: "During the past year, staff across the health and social care directorate have worked tirelessly to ensure that the children, families and adults we work with have received the support they need. At the heart of this, we strive to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. We must also remember that many of these significant successes have in fact been achieved during the course of the pandemic, alongside routine and statutory duties.
She concluded: “Our network of kinship, fostering and adoption, as well as residential care in the Highlands will all be critical factors in helping to keep children safe, loved and nurtured. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of staff, who I wish to sincerely thank for their efforts."
The Highland Council's resilient digital learning estate continues to connect and support learners and educators across Highland, including the creation of a new digital toolkit for teaching staff. Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said: "The extensive digital learning estate available across Highland for staff, pupils, parents and carers is an effective way to empower and develop digital opportunities across Highland schools.
Members of the public are being invited to comment on a Draft Gambling Policy Statement for the coming years 2022-25. The Highland Council is consulting on the draft policy statement on behalf of The Highland Licensing Board under the Gambling Act 2005.
At the meeting of The Highland Council Members supported a starred item put forward by Caithness Members. The Thurso and North West Caithness and the Wick and East Caithness Ward Councillors asked that the Council creates and implements a Council wide playground strategy that considers the needs and expectations of communities and supports the active play, well-being and social activity of children and their families.
Members at a meeting on 9 September 2021 of the Highland Council agreed the scope, budget, phasing and timescale for 5 priority school projects including Beauly Primary, Culloden Academy, Dunvegan Primary, Park Primary, and St Clements School. It was also agreed that these projects are to be incorporated into the Council's current capital programme.
Given the importance of tourism to the Highland economy and the need for the tourism experience to be positive for visitors and communities, members have agreed to extend the Visitor Management Plan funding into the 2022 season by a one-off investment of £1.5m. A one-off Visitor Management Plan investment of £2.4m agreed by the Council in March 2021 for this year's season has enabled a range of service improvements.
On behalf of The Highland Council, High Life Highland has this week advertised a tender and invitation to quote seeking creative filming and photography input to the Inverness Castle - Spirit of the Highlands project. The tender and invitation to quote will contribute to Spirit:Journeys, a natural and cultural heritage initiative that will deliver many benefits for local communities, helping to unlock economic potential and improve visitor experiences across the region.
Artists and craft makers across the Highlands, Moray and the Western Isles can apply for bursaries of up to £750 for their creative development. The Visual Artist and Craft Makers Awards (VACMA) are funded by Creative Scotland in partnership with Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (IMAG) and can support artists at all stages of their career.
A planned Family Music Day in Inverness has been postponed, High Life Highland has said. Due to take place on September 11 in Bellfield Park, a decision was taken following careful monitoring of the evolving Covid-19 situation across the Highlands.
A letter has been sent to parents and guardians of pupils in S1 and S3 at Wick High School on Friday 27th August 2021. Dear Parent or Guardian, We have identified a possible case of COVID-19 in a pupil in your child's year group.
The Highland Council has today (27 August 2021) welcomed Scottish Government's publication of a forward-thinking report on coastal change for the area in East Sutherland stretching from Golspie to Coul. It provides a summary of the latest ‘Dynamic Coast' science and is intended to support key partners in developing and implementing a response, which could include resilience and adaptation measures.