Highland Placement Programme improves children's lives immeasurably
22nd August 2019
Considerable effort has been focussed on returning young people to Highland. Since the Councils enhanced Placement Programme began in June 2018, 34 young people have returned to Highland or circumvented OOA (Out of Authority) avoiding costs of over £5M as compared with these young people remaining out of area for a year.
The 34 children returned to area or family placements went to the following:
Residential units: 13
Supported flats: 8
Foster care: 3
Adult services: 3
Out of care system: 1
Cllr John Finlayson, Chair of the Care, Learning and Housing Committee said: "The ethos driving the Placement Programme is to provide alternative services which enable young people to remain as close to their communities in Highland as possible.
"One of the most compelling outcomes of the Placement Programme is significantly improved outcomes for Highland's Care Experienced Young People who have returned to area. There has been overwhelming feedback from Social Workers, parents and the young people themselves about how well our young people are doing."
These improved outcomes have included:
Within a short time of returning, a number of young people have been found to be intellectually more able than identified over several years out of area,
Returned young people accelerating their developmental age as compared with OOA,
Reduction in one young person's violence and aggression forms by 80%,
Change for one young person who experienced limited opportunities out with the Highlands, who is now thriving and participating in many community activities in Highlands that he has never experienced before. Some of these activities are what most children would get the opportunity to experience.
Improved educational attendance and enjoyment, “I want to live here until I’m older then I want to work here".
Developing Highland resources to support the Placement Programme rollout is ongoing and includes the new outreach and respite service in Fodderty, the identification and development of additional residential provision, the employment of new and specialised staff and agreement on the expansion of CAMHS (Child and Adult Mental Health Service).
Looking ahead and in order to meet the responsibilities detailed in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, effort is being focussed on acquiring a more varied stock of properties and services to meet the needs of looked after young people in the Highland area. A business case is also being prepared to review fostering and adoption fees/allowances which will be detailed in a report to The Highland Council meeting in October 2019.
The improving trend of attainment is continuing in Highland as demonstrated by the SQA results published today. Attainment in Highland schools has risen against all key indicators and improvement is also around 2% above national levels of improvement.
Members were today asked to note the good progress being made in relation to the local authority's Recovery Action Plan despite the significant challenges faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlighted that important work on the 11 key priorities continues at pace.
The Highland Council is issuing a reminder that no more than 20 people should attend a funeral service in person. No changes to these restrictions on funeral services were announced by the Scottish Government following the three weekly formal review of coronavirus controls last week.
Move towards a more sustainable delivery of humanitarian assistance proposed as Highland navigates COVID-19 recovery phase. Staff and Communities have been praised for their outstanding response to the Covid-19 emergency.
Today's announcement from the First Minister is very much what we have been anticipating and preparing for in our return to Highland education settings. It is a great reassurance that we can now continue with our work to achieve a full return of pupils and staff, including those who were previously shielding, in August.
Highland Council is reminding communities the service point network remains closed, in line with COVID 19 guidance. Anyone who wishes to access Council services can do so online, over the telephone or by email.
From 29th June, Highland Council Registration Offices resumed birth registration. As birth registrations were suspended since late March, The Highland Council's Registrars are now working through a backlog and it is important that they register births in date order wherever possible.
The Highland Council announced on Thursday 23 July 2020 additional materials will start to be accepted at many of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region and some opening times extended as part of the planned phased reopening. Wood and scrap metal have now been added to the range of items that are accepted at the majority of facilities where the layout and size of the site allows.
The Highland Council can now confirm that the Bulky Uplift Service is being re-instated from today, Monday 20 July 2020. The service was suspended on the 23rd March due to the COVID-19 National Emergency and the need to prioritise staff to provide essential waste and recycling collections.
Following the Council's announcement that contract work valued at over £60 million for new housing development projects across the Highlands has resumed, the Chair of the Housing and Property Committee has confirmed that capital investment works for the Council's current housing stock will be re-starting shortly. Contractors have supplied The Highland Council with detailed work plans for safe working, encompassing social distancing and following all guidance relating to Covid-19.