Agenda item

Strengthening Families Programme Update and Adverse Childhood Experiences

The Commission is asked to note the reports.


Officer Presenting Reports: Jacqui Jensen



The following are some of the key discussion points:

  • The Invest to Save bid:  the Strengthening Families programme – will contribute  to savings of £8M+
  • 76% of all children’s services national funding going towards placement costs for ‘looked after’ children.
  • A lot of this public money eventually ends up in private hands. Officers said they wanted to cut this figure down locally.
  • The ‘whole family approach’ is high quality practice with proportionate interventions and is very effective. If children can’t stay in their family we want them to stay with our in-house foster carers. This figure is currently 60%+.
  • Outcomes are poor when children come into care older.  Also, problems often start when children leave care.
  • There are reductions in older children entering care and they are expecting further reductions in time.
  • 2017 – High entrance numbers into care but figures are down in 2018.
  • Caseloads have reduced.  Social workers do not stay in family’s life longer than they need to.
  • There are concerns about the potential impacts of universal credit when it come in
  • More key worker housing is needed
  • Officers are focusing on trying to get resources in the right place, i.e. very targeted support
  • Nationally the number of looked after children is rising.  Not in Bristol however.  Supporting children to stay in birth families is a major achievement.


A Member raised housing as a big issue.  The response was that we need to look at deposits for key workers; shared ownership and generally more key worker housing.


A Member asked about private agencies paying foster carers more. Another asked how far behind the ‘going rate’ is BCC social worker pay? The response was:

  • BCC have done some financial modelling i.e. whether there is potential for additional and substantial investment.  BCC isn’t currently losing out to private agencies.  There is however an aging workforce many of whom are very altruistic.


A Member asked if there is an issue around foster care recruitment and if/how BCC making sure every demographic targeted? There was a particular interest in how BCC are targeting BME communities. Officers sought to reassure Members that they are targeting all groups in the community and across all areas of Bristol using a variety of methods. 


A number of comments were made about a national report released the previous day about the current state of children’s mental health.  There was a general consensus that that it is not good a good picture and that it is getting worse year on year.


A Member asked if BCC is working alongside targeted youth services.  Response: 

  • This part of the integrated localities offer.  Contracts started in June and they are building a professional network to ensure the children are safe; but also build networks in the community.
  • Officers said they want to explore whether CIL money can be used for key worker housing.


The Members complimented the Officers on their hard work and asked if they would come back with an up-date.


ACTION: Chair was asked to consider holding a future a closed session on the Programme.


Adverse Childhood Experiences

Jacqui Jensen - Executive Director Adults, Children Education and Public Health introduced the subject and took Members though the (published) slides.


There were a number of reasons for undertaking this piece of work that taken 6 months. 

It was said that 100% of teenage boys in care come from homes where domestic violence has been prevalent.  


  • Task and Finish Groups have been held and around 40 people engaged including reps from the voluntary sector, health workers and the police. The outcomes will inform the programme and then a conference in January 2018. Officers are also engaged with other local authorities. 
  • It is providing better insights to effect change across statutory services. Looking at how they stop doing something that is high cost and yet low impact so the funding can be directed better to have higher impacts.


ACTION:  All Commission members to be invited to the Conference on 17 January 10-4pm at We are the Curious


ACTION- Video documentary link about ACE’s out to the Commission Members to be circulated


Supporting documents: