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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 May 2007, Official Report, column 662W, on adoption, what intensive targeted work has been carried out by his Department with local authorities to improve placement stability for children in care; and what assessment he has made of the effect of this work.
Too often, children who stay in care long-term are affected by numerous changes of carer, which impacts on their security and wellbeing, their ability to make and maintain friendships, and their schooling, which is often disrupted as a result. The Department appointed a small team of independent consultants—all former senior managers in social services—to work with 34 local authorities who had a significant contribution to make to the department's PSA target on improving stability for children in long-term care. Each local authority received five days' free consultancy to help them develop their own action plans to improve stability. Each authority is also being encouraged to share their learning with others in the same region, and materials are being developed to facilitate this. Telephone consultancy was also offered to 50 more local authorities, if they wished to accept it. The work ended in March this year, and it is therefore too soon to identify the impact it has had on performance.