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Support for Care Leavers Praised by Ofsted

Ofsted inspectors have praised South Tyneside Council's Children's Services for the support they give to young people leaving care.

Following a focused visit, inspectors agreed that "dedicated and committed workers" support young people and prepare them to leave care extremely well.

They found most of the young people supported by the service benefit from long-standing, trusting relationships with support individually tailored according to the young people's needs and wishes.

The report by inspectors adds: "A comprehensive local offer, combined with a range of creative and generous opportunities from the Council and its partners is contributing to positive outcomes for care leavers."

The inspectors found children in care to be well supported through the transition into leaving care services and adulthood. Personal advisers are allocated when children are 16 years old while social workers start to plan for transitions by completing pathway plans with children to ensure that their involvement and voice are central to the planning for their future.

The report adds: There is a real focus in South Tyneside on acknowledging achievements that are important to the young person. Workers are clearly proud of how young people overcome challenges in their lives. Workers are very ambitious and have high aspirations for young people.

"Participation and engagement to obtain young people's views are embedded throughout the services and constitute a real strength in South Tyneside. Service developments co-designed with young people are innovative and young people have a service that is meaningful for them."

The last 12 months saw an increase in the number of young people in employment, education or training thanks to effective services and interventions supporting them. When young people are not in a position to take up opportunities, there is a range of support services to give young people the confidence to begin looking for work or training led by a dedicated opportunities broker.

Shona Gallagher, Director of Children's Services, said: "We are delighted that the inspectors recognised the quality of the service, commitment of the workforce and the voice of care experienced young people in driving improvements and innovation in service delivery. These are all key factors in helping us to deliver on our priority of supporting children and young people in need."

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