In the role of ... Cllr Sylvia Tidy, ESCC Lead Member for Children's Social Care

In the first of a series, we look at those responsible for our essential services. This time -- Sylvia Tidy who is East Sussex County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Social Care.

“This is the only statutory role in the Council that can lead to imprisonment, along with Director of Children’s Services and the Chief Executive, so you can see I take my responsibility very seriously.

"We are very fortunate in East Sussex to have a department that has been judged by Ofsted to be Good with Outstanding for Fostering and Adoption; not once, but on three separate occasions. This is down to the dedication of the staff, be they social workers, office staff, managers, assistant directors or the director. Foster Carers play a huge role in helping us manage the 500 to 600 Children that, through no fault of their own, find themselves in the care of the council. They are truly dedicated to giving that young person the love and care that has been missing in their lives. Adopters are also critical to giving a child a permanent home. We have six residential homes that also help with keeping safe vulnerable teenagers. Some of these young people have been missing education and excluded from school; in most cases we ensure that they attend school and can go back to live with their families.

"My role in all this is to keep abreast of all that is going on in the department, challenge when necessary, support the staff, attend prize-givings. Prize-giving is a wonderful celebration of all our looked-after children who have come through their adversities and are able to look forward to a promising future. It is very sad that children have to be taken in to care, but believe me leaving them at home is not an option. Many a young person says: thank you, I would not be full filling my life if I had not been taken into care.”