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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

Kinship: 6

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.


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