Birmingham City Council is taking another innovative step to improve the lives of some of its most vulnerable young people.
The first foster placement in the UK supported by a pioneering Social Impact Bond (SIB) scheme has taken place through a service commissioned by the council.
Nationally, too many young people whose lives are disrupted by family breakdown face further challenges in finding secure alternative care arrangements. The city council is taking an innovative approach to help them.
The council has commissioned Core Assets Group – Foster Care Associates, Fostering People and Active Care Solutions, to find foster placements over the next two years for around 60 young people currently in residential care.
This is a payment-by-result contract, linked to the SIB a scheme set up by central government to promote social investment into the public sector and drive positive outcomes for looked after children. The service , funded by Bridges Ventures, an organisation that specialises in investments that deliver a social or environmental impact, is the first SIB-funded fostering scheme to make a placementÂ in the UK.Â One young person moved from the residential home into her new fostering placement last week.
Councillor Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children and family services, said: â€œChildren in care have better outcomes and life chances if they are placed with a family ratherÂ than in a residential home and this project aims to identify young people currently in residential care and who, with the help ofÂ this scheme, can move into foster care.
â€œThis gives real wrap-around support to both the foster carer and the young person to ensure a stable and sustainable placement, and allows for a much more planned matching and transition process.â€
The contract began in August 2014 and is initially for a four year period, with the option to extend for a further two years if successful. As a result of being placed with a family and of the extra support we will aim to improve school attendance and attainment, emotional wellbeing and behaviour.
David Oldham, Chief Executive Officer, of Core Assetsâ€™ Foster Care Associates said: â€œThis contract builds upon 20 years of development and refinement of our approach to therapeutic fostering, our experience in safely and successfully transitioning young people from childrenâ€™s home placements to our fostering services, and utilizes the Groupâ€™s existing infrastructure and experienced carer base to find the right families for these children quickly and deliver the service.
Andrew Levitt, Investment Director, at Bridges Ventures said: â€œWe see the Birmingham contract as representing an excellent opportunity to support a high social impact intervention benefiting a vulnerable group, children in care, who generally achieve much poorer outcomes that their peers. This service will not only improve their more immediate outcomes but will generate further social return on investment through improved life outcomes as a whole.â€
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