Children who are part of the care system inevitably have complex networks of support built around them. From the time that the initial concerns about the family care are identified they enter an arena of professionals who will move in and out of their lives. The figure below demonstrates the extent of this. In itself, this cannot easily be avoided but for it to be an effective system of support, good communication, coherence of approaches and close partnership working are going to be crucial. Everyone needs to work collaboratively to ensure the best possible outcomes for CLA. In particular the link between the school and the carer is important so that the CLA’s needs and the approaches to meet these are successfully developed.
This is best achieved through regular dialogue with carers and other professionals (and much more than just at formal reviews). Ensuring that carers know how to have easy contact with schools and how they can help their children at home to support their learning is also very important.
As part of the preparation in writing this resource, focus groups were held with some of the people who have a central role to play in the lives of CLA, as well as with the young people themselves. In the next sections the key outcomes and messages identified as being important for inclusion in this resouce will be outlined.
This resource is based on Children looked after friendly schools, which was commissioned jointly by Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf local authorities utilising PDG LAC funding. The content was developed by Andrea Higgins, Academic Director and Programme Coordinator in Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, working closely with Hannah Bevan and Jess Jones, LAC Education Coordinators from Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil.