Looked after children – Wisbech, St Neots

On Tuesday I had a fascinating day working with the children and young people’s service. It started with me attending a team meeting of children’s social workers in Cambridge. Clearly, this is a team of very dedicated, caring professionals focused on the children. I worry that expectations placed on our social workers are too high. Is it possible to prevent every child, ever being harmed? That sounds unachievable. What we need to do is to understand risk and take reasonable steps to reduce it where we identify it.

This was followed by a trip to St Neots, with a social worker, to make a regular statutory visit to a fostered young lad. What a lovely 9 year old who wants not much more than someone to care for him and some permanence in his life. This experienced foster family were caring and capable and made me welcome. What was interesting was to watch the interaction between the youngster and the social worker. It was trusting and felt good.

I then went to Wisbech to visit a children’s home. The home was clean, well equipped and had three members of staff on duty at any time looking after up to 6 young people. These young people have had a difficult life and need a huge amount of support. Often the staff are the only family they have. It was lovely to see a young man, who had left the home some time before, returning to visit the staff. I had a discussion about the practicalities of running the home and took away some minor admin issues to follow up on.

Great day. I learnt a lot and was told staff appreciate the visits.

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