Children and Young people

Overview and key messages

  • Children and young people make up approximately 22.2% of the population in the West Wales region. The number of young people is expected to stay relatively stable over the next 15 years.
  • The region has a lower number of looked After Children (LAC) than the national average.
  • Care and support needs span a wide range from universal, through early intervention, multiple needs and remedial intervention.
  • Partner agencies have adopted a broadly consistent continuum of care and support for children and families with a focus on prevention.
  • Areas for improvement include further development of preventative and early intervention services, building on established programmes such as Family Information Services, Families First and Team Around the Family; refocusing managed care and support to promote independence and well-being; improving multi-agency working and improved collaboration across the region to bring services to a consistent level and standard.
  • Collaborative action should also be considered to address strategic challenges such as reducing budgets, workforce development and the establishment of user-led preventative services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Demographics and trends

  • Over 85,000 children and young people (0-19) in the West Wales region
  • 144 children and young people with a disability
  • 64 children with complex needs
  • 3,266 referrals to children social services in 2015-16
  • 421 Looked after children (March 2016)
  • 94 children on the Child Protection Register

Current and future care and support needs

Children and young people will have a range of care and support needs depending on their personal circumstances. Broadly speaking, this range will encompass:
  • Universal needs for example information and advice, low level family support, preventative services such as health visiting, early ante-natal provision, dietetic support and advice, childcare and careers advice
  • Additional needs and early intervention, such as improvement support for families, youth engagement, supporting young people into education and training, education inclusion and welfare
  • Multiple needs requiring coordinated multi-agency support to support children and families to address complex and/ or entrenched needs
  • Need for remedial intervention to support children at risk.

Current care and support provision

In response to the needs identified in the previous section, partners across the region have adopted a service continuum as a basis for planning and delivering care and support as shown in this diagram.

Gaps and Areas for Improvement

The development of fit for purpose services right across the range is an ongoing journey and there are a number of areas in which further improvement can be made:
 
  • Developing appropriate access to a range of information, advice and assistance that directs families with children and young people to relevant care and support within communities
  • Enhancing assessment and care planning processes to ensure that citizens have a genuine voice when agreeing outcomes and the support needed to achieve them
  • Ensuring that children, young people and their families are able to access services through their language of choice and that the ‘active offer’ through the Welsh medium is available
  • Developing community-based, user-led, co-produced services that support families with children and young people to become more resilient and develop a range of skills including life skills
  • Reconfiguring commissioning processes for high cost, low volume care and support packages for children with complex needs, to deliver consistent cost-effective services that ensure best outcomes for service users
  • Improving the support offered for family relationships, particularly for new parents or parents who are experiencing stress due to other factors such as imprisonment or disability
  • Enhancing accommodation and meeting accommodation support needs of young people leaving care or following custodial sentences
  • Improving integration between children’s services, mental health and learning disability and access to mental health services at an early stage
  • Reducing the number of placement moves for LAC and reducing reliance on residential care
  • Improving joint planning between CAMHS and learning disability services, to ensure equitable service provision for children with neuro-developmental conditions via the ‘Together for Children’ programme
  • Developing links between Integrated Family Support Services (IFSS) and other council services such as adult care and housing as well as community-based services, to help families back to independence and enable them to function effectively within their communities
  • Improving access to child sexual health services
  • Adopting consistent methodology such as Signs of Safety to underpin care and support across the region
  • Developing a consistent, outcomes-based performance framework for children and young people’s services across the region