Children’s services in Aberdeen performing well but some areas could improve

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Inspectors have identified key strengths in the way looked after children and young people in Aberdeen are supported and cared for but noted some areas requiring improvement.

The Care Inspectorate is leading joint inspections which focus on how well services are working together to improve the lives of children and young people who have experienced or are at risk of abuse and neglect, and those who are, or have been, looked after by the local authority.

Inspectors look at how staff across a range of services collaborate across the Aberdeen City community planning partnership, including social work, health and education staff, police officers, and children’s reporters.

Inspectors noted that staff were having a positive impact on the quality and stability of care and support experienced by children and young people and their families by emphasising and building on strengths in families.

Staff were confident at recognising the signs of risk which was supported by good information sharing processes and early discussions. Responses to immediate risk of significant harm were effective, they reported.

They found that services worked well together to assess and plan support that enabled vulnerable women, and their unborn babies, to receive the help they needed at an early stage.

There was a wide range of universal and targeted support services available which helped children, young people and their families to recover from their experiences of abuse and neglect.

And joint working was effectively promoted by leaders who collaborated and shared a clear vision, values and aims.

However, inspectors also noted some areas which could improve.

They found strategic oversight of corporate parenting was not as robust as that for child protection.

They noted there were limitations in outcomes data with which partners were able to demonstrate improving trends for children and young people who were looked after, in particular those looked after at home and care leavers.

Inspectors also found that children and young people in need of care and protection were not benefitting from a timeous assessment of their health needs and that there were gaps in some services to address their emotional health and wellbeing.

Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “The Care Inspectorate and our scrutiny partners are confident that Aberdeen community planning partnership can continue to improve and to address the points for action highlighted in this report.

“This is based in part on the robust frameworks which are in place to ensure that Aberdeen’s children and young people at immediate risk of harm are, and remain, safe.

“It is also based on improvements we have seen in the collection and analysis of performance data linked to the partnership’s strategic aims.

“Careful attention to the governance and oversight of child protection has paid dividends in supporting improvements.

“Partners now need to ensure they pay equal attention to governance arrangements for looked after children and young people and those who are care experienced in order to achieve similar results.”

The report is available here: http://bit.ly/aberdeen-servicesforcyp