If you are not familiar with Quality Improvement and/or permanence, we recommend you watch these two webinars first. In PACE and Permanence, Linda Davidson, Permanence Consultant at CELCIS discusses why finding safe, secure and stable homes for children is so important. In PACE and Quality Improvement, Kirsty Doull, Acting Permanence Lead and Permanence Consultant at CELCIS, talks us through the key points of Quality Improvement and how it was used in the PACE programme.
PACE: permanence in practice
Children require a safe, stable, secure and nurturing home in which to grow up and fulfil their potential. This may be referred to as ‘permanence’. For children who become ‘looked after’ by a local authority under child protection legislation, it can necessarily take time to decide where this home should be – whether that be remaining with or returning to their parents; or an alternative home with kinship carers (family members or close family friends), long-term foster carers, residential care, or adoption.
PACE was very clear that there are four legal routes to permanence for children – remaining or returning to live with parents; a permanence order; a kinship care order; or an adoption order – and practice in relation to all four routes are considered throughout the work of PACE.
Participation is fundamental to all improvement work – from senior leaders to frontline practitioners, but, crucially, to the people who are most impacted by the changes made: children, young people, and their families. Throughout the PACE programme, children, families and carers were invited to participate wherever possible. This enabled the programme to learn what delays in processes felt like, what areas people felt needed to be improved upon, and what children, families and carers told us about the experiences of new ways of working.
PACE: engaging with children and young people
In this webinar, Paul Sullivan, Sector Engagement Lead at CELCIS, explains the importance of the participation and engagement of children and young people in CELCIS’s work and discusses some models for participation, including the Independent Care Review and local Champions Boards. This is vital for all work relating to improving timescales for permanence planning, as the reason for improving such timescales is to improve outcomes for children and young people.View the transcript and extra material
One of the key experiences from PACE was seeing the differing approaches across Scotland to permanence planning for children in kinship care. Traditionally, children living with kinship carers (family members or close family friends) have, at times, not been viewed as being ‘looked after’ away from home. ‘Permanence’, too, traditionally only referred to fostering and adoption, rather than other routes to securing a child’s permanent and loving home such as kinship care such as in kinship care. As a result, many local authority areas do not yet have the same robust decision making processes for children living with kinship carers as they do for children living with other carers – despite having a high number of children in their areas living in kinship care.
Many local authority areas involved in the PACE programme wanted to address this and new innovations were tested. These included kinship care panels to formally approve a child’s plan and kinship carers, providing legal advice, making a formal recommendation for a child to remain with kinship carers, and introducing similar decision making processes for children in kinship care as other looked after and accommodated children.
PACE: kinship care and permanence
In this webinar, Dr Louise Hill, Evidence and Policy Lead at CELCIS from 2011 - 2020, discusses the policy and legal framework surrounding kinship care in Scotland. She explains what emotional, practical and financial support is required for children and their kinship carers, and also examines the opportunities and challenges of permanently securing children to live with kinship carers.View the transcript and extra material
PACE and children living in kinship care
In this webinar, Kirsty Doull, Acting Permanence Lead and Permanence Consultant at CELCIS, discusses some of the key things that CELCIS has learned from PACE in regard to the systems that support children living in kinship care. She explores the reasons why it’s important that children living with kinship carers have the same robust processes in place for making decisions about their future as other children, and talks about some of the key change ideas that have been tested through PACE to improve kinship care processes.View the transcript and extra material
For children who cannot remain safely with their birth parents, research has highlighted that their relationships and outcomes are more positive if they can move to live in an alternative permanent home at an early age. Unfortunately, we know that infants in Scotland experience significant drift and delay when services focus on rehabilitation home to parents, without a clear parallel plan in the event this is not successful. Concurrency planning is an evidence based approach to achieving early permanence for young children by offering parallel planning. This means that, whilst there is a plan for rehabilitation, there is also a parallel plan that a child may remain with their carers if rehabilitation is not found to be possible. This means that all the responsibility is placed on adults, not children.
Concurrency planning is a way of planning for all possible eventualities for where a child might live, and one which – crucially – places the responsibility on adults, not children. In this webinar, Linda Davidson, Permanence Consultant at CELCIS, discusses the concurrency planning model and shows how it can be used to minimise the amount of moves between homes a child might have. She also explains how it can support early and robust permanence planning.View the transcript and extra material
Assessment and report writing
Fundamental to decision making for children in need of care and protection are assessments and reports. Without these, decision makers cannot make the recommendations and decisions that are vital to the lives of babies, infants, children and young people. However, the amount of reports that are required for a variety of forums can make this part of the permanence planning process a lengthy one. Many of the PACE areas have tackled this issue and we have learned a great deal about the best ways to approach assessment and report writing to reduce drift and delay in these processes.
PACE: assessment and report writing
Throughout the permanence planning process, there is a need for robust assessments and clear reports. With this in mind, in this webinar Linda Davidson, Permanence Consultant at CELCIS, discusses the ways in which PACE has helped to put the child’s needs at the centre of decision making and how improvements to assessments and report writing have supported this.View the transcript and extra material
Additional resources and further reading
PACE: the first steps
Below are some additional resources to sit alongside the PACE: the first steps page.
- Permanence flowchart
- Child Protection System Map
- Throughcare and aftercare map
- Four Routes to Permanence Poster
- Children's Permanence Leaflet
- Leaflet template: what we mean by permanence
- Looked After at Home Review Cycle diagram
- Permanence Peer Review Form template, Aim 1
- Questionnaire for Reviewing a Child/Young Person’s Plan to Renew their Compulsory Supervision Order (CSO)
- 2 week child's planning meeting checklist
- Agenda for 2 week child's planning meeting
- Diagram of abbreviated permanence timescales
- Guidance document of the process for a child becoming accommodated pre the permanence review
- Guidance document showing tasks to be completed prior to permanence panel
- Looked After Child review process information leaflet for parents
- Legal advice in permanence planning
- Permanence timescales diagram
Using Quality Improvement
Below are some additional resources to sit alongside the Using Quality Improvement page.
- Forcefield Analysis template
- Driver Diagram template and IHI guidance
- Template for process mapping
- Fishbone template
- Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) template
- Self-sufficiency template
- Scottish Government 3-step improvement guide
- PACE programme change ideas: key examples
- Tried and tested 2018: Local changes that are improving children’s lives through the Permanence and Care Excellence (PACE) programme (2018)
- Beyond The Headlines: Understanding Data (2020)
- Timeline 'how to' guide
- Timeline example spreadsheet
- Timeline XY chart labeler description
- Child shadows images for use on timelines
- Timeline placement chart details
Permanence in practice
Below are some additional resources to sit alongside the Permanence in practice page.
- Concurrency: Planning for all outcomes (November 2016), Carol Wassell, Permanence Programme and Permanence and Care Team Lead, CELCIS.
- Case for Concurrency Planning (2013), Carol Wassell, Permanence Programme and Permanence and Care Team Lead, CELCIS.
- Pre-birth assessment guidance
- Pre-birth risk/needs assessment
- Pre-birth assessment tool
Voices from PACE
The videos and resources below share the voices of some of the people and organisations involved in the PACE programme.
Gathering PACE events
- Gathering PACE 2018: Resources from the 2018 Gathering PACE event.
- Gathering PACE 2017: Resources from the 2017 Gathering PACE event.
Aberdeen City Council
- Small changes reduce delay in permanence decisions by over 12 weeks (REACH magazine, 2016): Graeme Simpson, Chief Social Work Officer at Aberdeen City Council, explains how small tests of change added up to cutting three months off the time it takes to make decisions for children in their care.
- A Children's Reporter reflects on the impact of PACE (REACH magazine, 2016): Anne MacKenzie, a Children’s Reporter in Aberdeenshire, reflects on the impact of PACE on her work and that of those around her, and on the children they help.
City of Edinburgh Council
- Kinship care: a sense of belonging, a sense of security (REACH magazine, 2016): Kim Irwin, Independent Kinship Care Assessor at City of Edinburgh Council, discusses a three-month-long assessment of kinship care placements.
East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership
- Planning starts at a very early stage in East Renfrewshire (REACH magazine, 2016): Ruth Nairn, Child Protection Consultant at CELCIS, explains how planning starts at a very early stage.
- What drift and delay really means for children (REACH magazine 2016): Lisa McKenzie, East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership discusses the improvements they made with the help of PACE.
Dumfries and Galloway Council
- Understanding children's journeys (2018): Alison Penman, Locality Social Work Manager from Dumfries and Galloway Council, explains how her team has been able to use data to help visualise a child's journey through care.
Orkney Children's Panel
- PACE is a real eye opener for Orkney Panel Member (REACH magazine, 2016): Calum Swanson, a member of the Children's Panel in Orkney, explains the difference the PACE programme has made to him and the Children's Panel in Orkney.
- Case Study: Sometimes the permanent placement is back home (REACH magazine, 2016): Cathie O'Donnell, Renfrewshire Council, explains how through the work of the PACE programme and a multi-disciplinary team, a young boy was able to return home to his family.
Shetland Islands Council
- Visualising the difference (2018): David McQueen, Team Leader, Family Placement Services at Shetland Island Council, explains how data is being used to help support decision making for children and young people in Shetland to achieve better outcomes.
- Contact with their past can give children a sense of belonging (REACH magazine, 2016): Carol Wassell, Permanence lead at CELCIS, works with local authorities and other agencies to help ensure children get good permanent placements as soon as possible.
The blog posts below share the voices of some of the people and organisations involved in the PACE programme.
- Considered but timely decision making is vital for children (November 2019): Stephen Small, Director, St Andrew’s Children’s Society.
- PACE is changing (March 2019): Carol Wassell, Permanence Programme and Permanence and Care Team Lead, CELCIS
- Information is power (September 2018): Laura Conachan, Projects Lead, Children’s Hearings Scotland.
- Infants may not be able to speak but their voice is important (October 2017): Linda Davidson, Permanence Consultant, CELCIS.
- Children can easily become lost in the system, but a timeline can help you see them (February 2017): Linda Davidson, Permanence Consultant, CELCIS.
- A Passion for Permanence (November 2016): Aileen Nicol, Head of Improving Permanence and Protection, CELCIS.
- Knowing what we need to know, when we need to know it (November 2016): Diana Beveridge, Improvement Advisor, Scottish Government.
- Legal opinion: We can do our bit to cut down drift in permanence planning (November 2016): Jennifer McKearney, Principal Solicitor, Aberdeenshire Legal and Governence Department.
- Concurrency: Planning for all outcomes (November 2016): Carol Wassell, Permanence Programme and Permanence and Care Team Lead, CELCIS
- Peer support is empowering social workers in East Renfrewshire (November 2016): Lesley-Ann Stewart, Social Worker, East Renfrewshire.
- Case study: Dumfries and Galloway Council's work with PACE (November 2016): Mareen Vernon, Dumfries and Galloway council.