Hammersmith & Fulham children’s services among best in UK

Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s children’s services has been named as one of best in the country following a recent Ofsted inspection.

The service, which aids children who need help and protection, as well as looked after children and care leavers, was rated good overall with outstanding features.

The way services to help young people are managed was highlighted as outstanding by inspectors, as was the adoption team.

“There is nothing more important among the work Hammersmith & Fulham Council does than supporting and protecting children and young people,” said Steve Miley, director of family services.

“We’re delighted inspectors have found us to be among the best in the country at providing the support young people deserve.

We’re not resting on our laurels and are constantly looking for ways to improve our service even more. We’ll be looking to incorporate the Ofsted recommendations into this process.”

They include a scheme to help care leavers find work and apprenticeships. Support for those leaving care was described as ‘consistently good’ by inspectors and there have been significant improvements in this area in recent years, largely thanks to targeted investment by Hammersmith & Fulham Council. They include seven new fully-qualified staff members, highly trained in supporting care leavers.

Other planned improvements include expanding the family assist service, which supports children in difficulty to remain with their families, and was also singled out for praise in the Ofsted report.

Inspectors described it as ‘highly effective’ and ‘innovative’, and said it ‘has had a very positive impact on improving outcomes for many of the most vulnerable young people in the borough, including those on the cusp of care.’

Work is also underway to expand the early help service which supports families with a wide range of support within one team. They help families bounce back from a wide range of problems quickly before they escalate and become harder to manage.

There are 185 children currently looked after by Hammersmith & Fulham Council. Inspectors added: “Social workers know children and young people well and the voice of the child is valued.”

The report praised the fact that the needs of vulnerable groups are addressed, including effective initiatives to tackle radicalisation, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour-based violence.

Summing up, inspectors said: “Good-quality social work flourishes and a culture of compassion is evident. This leads to improved outcomes for the majority of children and young people.”

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