On the 4th of May the Government agreed to resettle unaccompanied child refugees who are currently in Europe to the UK. The Minister for Immigration has confirmed that the Government will consult with local authorities in due course before specifying the number of children it will seek to resettle from within Europe.
Cornwall Council is committed to providing support to unaccompanied child refugees and has already supported accompanied children as part of existing Syrian refugee resettlement scheme. We are already talking to foster carers and supported lodgings providers to make sure we are ready if/when we are asked.
It is important that the views and wishes of the children and young people are taken into account when allocating them to local authority areas. Many already have family and friends in the UK and would prefer to be near them or to communities that share their language, heritage and culture. However, Cornwall has a good track record of making people from different backgrounds welcome and this is no different.
Cornwall Council hopes that the Government takes into account the resources available to local authorities when allocating children. We will need a little time to match these children carefully to experienced foster carers who are skilled in caring for children who have experienced trauma, separation and loss.
Therefore, Cornwall Council welcomes expressions of interest from the public in providing foster placements and would ask them to get in touch with our foster carer recruitment team. It is important to note that a fostering assessment can take 4-6 months. Please contact the team by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 01872 323638.
Cornwall Council has received some very good news about its adoption service. The Department of Education has published the Adoption scorecards covering the three-year period to March 2013. This data have shown that Cornwall is the fourth best authority in the country for meeting the targets for how long it should take between a child entering care and moving in with its adoptive family.
The target for how long it should take a local authority to match a child with an adoptive family after receiving court authority to do so was six months for the period between 2010 to 2013, whilst the target for how long it should take between a child entering care and moving in with its adoptive family was 20 months. Cornwall Council met both targets.
Cornwall Council has further been singled out for praise by the Children’s minister Edward Timpson congratulated the Council in a letter on meeting the targets and indicated that he wants to explore how to share the lessons from Cornwall Council’s success more widely. High praise indeed.
This is fantastic news. I welcome being fourth but we really want to be the best. We will not be taking our foot off the pedal as we push hard to make sure we can meet the even more challenging targets that are being put in place for next year.
Furthermore, on Sunday I attended a special party for adopted children and their families last weekend at Raze the Roof, Penryn where children and their parents were given the opportunity to come together for a social event and to foster friendships and support networks. This was the largest of these events to date with another planned for the summer. It was good to meet staff, children and parents at this event and hear the very positive stories.
On average Cornwall Council successfully places 40 children a year in loving adoptive families, but continues to have children waiting for a family. There is a lot of information about adoption at www.cornwall.gov.uk/adoption or telephone 01872 322200. If interested, give them a call.