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Bridges Ventures backs foster placement service commissioned by Birmingham City Council

A new foster placement scheme has been launched in Birmingham, supported by a Social Impact Bond (SIB).

Following a competitive tender process, Birmingham City Council selected Outcomes for Children, a social enterprise within Core Assets Group, to deliver the service, with funding from Bridges Ventures’ Social Sector Funds.

Nationally, too many young people grow up in residential care institutions, where their long-term life outcomes are typically worse than those who grow up in a family. Outcomes for Children has been commissioned to find stable family foster placements for around 60 young people currently in residential care in the Birmingham area. This should lead to better outcomes for these looked-after children, which in the short term include improved school attendance and attainment, emotional wellbeing and behaviour. 
This is a social outcomes-based contract, with financing structured through a social impact bond. The contract began in August 2014 and young people will be referred onto the programme over a four-year period.
Funding is being provided by the Bridges Social Impact Bond Fund and the Bridges Social Entrepreneurs Fund. Both are managed by Bridges Ventures, the specialist fund manager dedicated to sustainable and impact investment.
The service is one of the first SIB-funded fostering schemes to make a placement in the UK: its first young person moved from a residential home into her new foster placement last week.
Councillor Brigid Jones, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for children and family services, says: “Children in care have better outcomes and life chances if they are placed with a family than in a residential home. This project aims to identify young people currently in residential care that are likely to remain there without this scheme but, with extra support, could move into foster care. This gives real wrap-around support to both the foster carer and the young person, to ensure a stable and sustainable placement, and allows for a much more planned matching and transition process.”
David Oldham, Chief Executive Officer of Foster Care Associates – Core Assets Group, says: “This contract builds upon 20 years of development and refinement of our approach to therapeutic fostering, plus our experience in safely and successfully transitioning young people from children’s home placements to our fostering services, and utilises the Group’s existing infrastructure and experienced carer base to deliver the service and find the right families for these children quickly.”
Andrew Levitt, Investment Director at Bridges Ventures, says: “We see the Birmingham contract as representing an excellent opportunity to support a high social impact intervention benefiting a vulnerable group of children in care, who generally achieve much poorer outcomes than their peers. This service will not only improve their more immediate outcomes, but will generate further social return on investment through improved life outcomes as a whole.”

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