Children in and on the edge of care will benefit from £84 million of new investment for projects designed to strengthen and support families – marking the 30th anniversary of the Children Act by reaffirming its core principle that, where possible, children are best brought up with their parents. GOV.UK reports.
Up to 20 councils will receive funding to help improve their practice, supporting families to stay together wherever appropriate, so that fewer children need to be taken into care and giving them the best chance to succeed in life.
Three ‘early adopters’ have been unveiled to deliver one of three landmark projects originally run through the Department for Education’s Innovation Programme: Darlington, Cambridgeshire and Middlesbrough.
The launch of the government’s Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme will start work to roll out the three successful projects to other eligible councils, where there are persistently high numbers of children being taken into care.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Every child deserves to grow up in a stable, loving family and go through life confident that someone always has your back. But for too many children, this is simply not a reality. With the number of children in care rising, many of these children face a far starker version of reality, one where their parents are in the grips of their own nightmare, through mental health problems, the trauma of domestic violence or an addiction.”
The projects were originally developed by Leeds, Hertfordshire and North Yorkshire councils – all rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. They aim to build resilience among more vulnerable families and improve how councils design and run services. They also support social workers to confidently identify where families can stay together in the home safely, without putting children or partners at risk.
Outcomes for children in care are poor compared with their peers. They are half as likely to meet the expected standards at age 11 and are a quarter as likely to achieve good GCSEs. Into adulthood they continue to have poor outcomes: 39% of all care leavers are “not in education, employment or training” against 12% of their peers, and are five times more likely to experience the criminal justice system.
Read the full article New projects to strengthen families and keep children out of care
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