Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas asked a topical question regarding the case of a teenager who took his own life while in foster care. The teenager was failed by agencies as he prepared to leave the care system a review by the Mid and West Wales Safeguarding Children Board has found.
Mid and West AM Simon Thomas asked the Welsh Government for a statement on children's services in Powys in the wake of a report by the Mid and West Wales Safeguarding Board regarding the death of a child in the care of the County Council.
Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children and Social Care replied that he expected Powys County Council to make the necessary improvements to ensure the best care and support is always provided.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said:
“All of us would want to send our condolences to the foster parents and anyone else affected in this case. It is clear from reading the child practice review report that the child had actually expressed very strong anxieties and uncertainties about his pathway, and one of the most fundamental and very disturbing things to read in the report is this breakdown in communications between a child, his foster carers and the authorities, who simply weren't listening.
“Many people in Powys feel that this is another sign that things have broken down so fundamentally there that actually there needs to be more direct intervention than the Welsh Government has been prepared to give so far.
“The national practice guidance that the national Government has, 'When I am Ready', which talks very clearly about allowing eligible teenagers to remain in care beyond the age of 18 if they're not ready to leave care, and talks very clearly about putting them at the centre of care plans—that good practice guidance simply wasn't followed in this case; no due care was taken to it.
“I asked for assurances from the Minister for the people in Powys affected and the wider community that this guidance, which we trumpeted as being one of the world-beating kind of guidance for children in care, is actually being followed in all parts of Wales, particularly in Powys.”