Councillors have agreed to appoint a charitable organisation to run the council’s new Permanency service, which includes the current fostering and adoption service.
The Adolescent and Children's Trust (TACT) will manage all fostering and adoption services, and support special guardianship carers in the city for ten years. The new Permanency Service will start from April 2017.
The first of its kind in the country, the Permanency Service will enable the council to improve outcomes for children and young people in care and on the edge of care.
The new service will reduce reliance on higher cost independent fostering and residential placements as well as provide improved training and 24/7 support for Peterborough foster carers. It’s also hoped that the service will increase the number of city-based foster carers looking after young people with more challenging care needs.
The partnership will invest in a number of services for children and young people, including support for those returning home from care.
Councillor Sam Smith, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “TACT is the UK’s largest fostering and adoption charity and agency and has an extensive track record in delivering positive outcomes for children and young people in care.
“We believe that this new partnership will enable us to recruit and retain more local foster carers through an improved support network that TACT will deliver. This will lead to more local longer-term foster placements for Peterborough children and young people.
“As we reduce our spend on placements for children in care we will be able to invest in additional services for our most vulnerable young people.
“We believe this partnership will secure good fostering and adoption services for the long-term in Peterborough as council budgets are further reduced.”
As well as the extra investment, the partnership with TACT is expected to deliver savings of £1million a year once it is fully established.
Staff working as part of the Permanency Service will be based at city council offices and overseen by a joint board including senior council officers. Current city council staff working in fostering and adoption will transfer to TACT.
Andy Elvin, the chief executive officer of The Adolescent and Children’s Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to work with Peterborough City Council to manage the new Permanency Service. We look forward to launching the service next year and further improving outcomes for children in Peterborough.”
TACT is a leading national charity and is highly experienced in providing both fostering and adoption services.
Adoption services in Peterborough are currently rated good by Ofsted.
Staff, foster carers and some of the young people under the council’s care have been involved in the development of the service from the outset, including in the decision to appoint TACT.
The decision was taken by the council’s Cabinet on Monday 26 September and is subject to the usual call-in rules.