Bradford Council has set out plans for its children’s homes provision in line with the changing demands of the service.
The Council currently provides 11 registered children’s homes, six of them for young people aged 11-18, one for children aged 5-10, two single-occupancy homes and two that provide short term breaks for disabled children.
However, as part of ongoing work to improve the services provided to looked after children and the need to provide high-quality residential care to a broad range of children and young people, including those with complex needs, a new development plan has been drawn up.
This will be presented to the Council’s Executive Committee when it meets on Tuesday, 7 June.
The proposed plan aims to:
- Enable the Council to run its current homes with lower bed numbers, making them homelier, improving matching considerations and increasing placement stability.
- Cease residential provision for 5 to 7-year-olds – looking at specialist fostering placement arrangements for these children instead.
- Create additional small home capacity to meet the needs of young people with high-level complex needs.
- Provide Staying Close provision linked to homes, which will improve capacity and speed up move on plans.
- Dispose of sites that are no longer fit for purpose as children’s homes.
- Further develop short term break capacity for disabled children.
To achieve this, the Council aims to close one of its homes – Valley View. This will happen once its remaining resident moves to a permanent placement. A number of the other homes will have their capacity reduced to accommodate lower numbers, while others will move to short-term or emergency care for children with complex needs.
In addition, an agreement is being sought from partner organisations for a new-build facility providing up to eight short break beds for children with complex needs on the neurodiversity pathway. The plan also calls for linked staying close flats to support the transition of young people from children’s homes into the community.
The proposed improvements are in-line with Ofsted’s feedback and the Council’s Children’s Services improvement plan as well as looking closely at the strategic needs of the services so they support the recently completed sufficiency strategy for placements.
Cllr Sue Duffy, Portfolio Holder for Children and Families, said: “We want all our children in care to live in a modern and comfortable environment where they are supported to reach their full potential.
“This development plan will allow us to put in place better care for children in care, including children with complex needs by developing our short term break capacity for disabled children.
“We are working hard to achieve these improvements, working closely with Ofsted to implement their suggestions to provide high-quality provision across the district to all our children in care.”