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It’s been two years since the responsibility for running Doncaster’s children’s services was transferred from the local authority to Doncaster Children’s Services Trust. We talk to Chief Executive, Paul Moffat, about how the Trust intends on being rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted within the next three years and how it is attracting and retaining social workers.

Could you tell us more about the aims of the Trust?

The Trust reports directly to the Department for Education and we have been set some very challenging targets. We want to give the best possible support to vulnerable children, young people and families in Doncaster. Our aim is to be Ofsted rated as ‘good’ or better’ by October 2017 and ‘outstanding’ by 2019. Whilst we do not know when our next inspection will be, we validate our progress through independent peer review.

Our rate of change is rapid and in our recent Ofsted monitoring visit, inspectors said that the Trust had made ‘significant progress’ to improve services for children and young people in need of help and protection in Doncaster. All our children’s homes are now rated either good or outstanding and we have reduced the average time to 70 days for a child to be placed for adoption after entering care.

What are you doing to reach these standards?

We are concentrating on five key areas:

  • Building a strong team who want to work for us; the people we support prefer a consistency in the social workers they see.
  • Asking children, young people and their families for their views, in order for us to identify how we can work better.
  • Introducing new ways of working to improve services, achieve positive outcomes and lasting change for the children and families we support.
  • Working closely with partner organisations to establish how we can collectively provide better support.
  • Business intelligence and performance reporting that is shared across the organisation to ensure that we allocate our resources wisely and in a way that achieves our targets and improves outcomes for children and young people.

Could you tell us about any innovative projects you are running?

The trust is at the forefront of a number of innovative programmes, including the Mockingbird family model. As an alternative method of delivering foster care, it aims to improve placement stability, safety and permanency for children and young people in care to improve support for, and retention of, foster carers. A dedicated network of experienced carers offers respite care, peer support, and social activities for other foster carers and their children.

We also run Growing Futures; a project focusing on the whole family. This is significantly different to how domestic abuse and family services have worked in the past, establishing the root causes of interconnection problems. In addition, we are also one of six pilot sites for the Pause programme, supporting women whose children have been repeatedly placed into care.

Curious to know what the benefits of working for a trust are? Or perhaps you would like to know what it’s like to live and work in Doncaster? If so, continue reading ‘In the spotlight’ in the most recent issue of Sanctuary Social Work News magazine.

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