Children become looked after when their birth parents are unable to provide ongoing care in either a temporary or permanent capacity. Children can either be looked after as a result of a voluntary agreement by their parents or as the result of a care order. Wherever possible, Knowsley Council works in partnership with parents when taking on the role of a Corporate Parent. Many children and young people who become looked after keep strong links with their families and may eventually return home.
At the end of March 2015, there were 306 children looked after in Knowsley. Growth in the total numbers of children looked after in Knowsley has been consistent since January 2014 and peaked. In the last 12 months, a total of 165 children have come into care, which is higher than the previous 12 month totals which stood at 113 children. The cumulative increase in numbers of children looked after has put increased pressure on resources including staff and the availability of placements, especially for hard to place children (children who have been approved for adoption but whose age and challenging circumstances make adoption unlikely).
While there has been a significant increase in the numbers of children joining care, the numbers leaving care has also increased from previous years. In 2011/12 and in 2012/13 the number of children leaving care outpaced the number of children joining care, however, figures for 2013/14 and 2014/15 show that this is no longer the case and the numbers of children entering care has increased above the rate at which children are leaving care.
The full JSNA report is available here: Children Looked After and Care Leavers JSNA