Dozens of children in care in Hertfordshire had three or more placements last year

The council also reported an increase in the proportion of children who remain in the same placement for for two years

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 9:08 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 9:10 am

Dozens of children in care in Hertfordshire moved between three or more placements in the past year, latest data shows.

But they are less likely to have been moved on than in previous years – with the county council also reporting an increase in the proportion of children who remain in the same placement for for two years.

The data was presented to a meeting of the county council’s children, young people and families cabinet panel on Thursday, June 17.

Hertfordshire County Council
Hertfordshire County Council

It shows that 89 children who were in care in Hertfordshire in 2020/21 had three or more placements by the end of March.

And that figure – equivalent to 8.9 per cent of the 996 children in care at that time – has been reported to be the council’s ‘best ever end of year performance’.

At the same point last year (March 2020) 106 children – that’s equivalent to 11.1 per cent – had had three or more different placements in care.

Presenting the data, senior performance and development manager for children’s services Paul Dryden said that the change reflected the council’s work with foster carers to understand why placements may break down.

“There has been a lot of progress on this,” said Mr Dryden.

“Historically we were around 13 per cent, which placed Hertfordshire in the bottom 25 per cent of the country.

“We have done a lot of work, working with foster carers and understanding the reasons why placements might break down and how we can better support those placements to make sure that the young person can remain in a stable placement.

“And that has improved to 8.9 per cent – which is our best performance ever and we are now in the top 25 per cent of the country, which is really good.

“That’s built on a lot of work that’s been going on over the past three years to improve this.”

Meanwhile the data also shows that 72.6 per cent of children who had been in care for two-and-a-half years or longer had remained in the same placement for at least two years.

And that’s higher than the 71 per cent who were recorded as having had the same placement for two years 12 months earlier, in March 2020.