21st Sep, 2020

Project aimed at keeping vulnerable families together to roll out across Solihull

Sarah Mason 7th Oct, 2019

A PROJECT aimed at keeping families together is set to be rolled out across Solihull.

Solihull Council has been accepted onto the £84million Strengthening Families, Protecting Children Programme which will see it adopt the ‘Family Valued’ project, launched by the Department for Education.

Family Valued will support vulnerable children in Solihull who are at risk of being taken into care as a result of their parents’ problems with mental health, domestic violence or addiction.

The project is designed to deal with these issues early on and keep them safely together at home.

This is one of three successful projects created through the Government’s Innovation Programme designed to support families to stay together wherever appropriate, so that fewer children need to be taken away from their birth families.

Solihull is one of 15 areas which have been successful in being accepted onto this programme, which was pioneered in Leeds.

In Leeds an independent evaluation showed between 2011 and 2017 the city reduced the number of children on children’s services protection plans by nearly 50 per cent (974 in 2011 down to 515 in 2017).

Councillor Ken Meeson, Solihull council’s cabinet member for children, education and skills, said: “We are pleased to have been accepted onto the Strengthening Families, Protecting Children Programme.

“We have gone through a significant transformation with our children’s services over the last year.

“We hope this new project, and its welcome investment, will allow us to continue and even improve our support and safeguarding service for our most vulnerable children, young people and families.

“We look forward to working with Leeds City Council and learning from the ‘Family Valued’ model they have already successfully developed.”

Steve Walker, director of children and families at Leeds City Council said: “In Leeds we believe that children are the most valuable resource we have. We know that strong children grow up in strong families, and those strong families create strong communities which makes Leeds such a vibrant and successful city.

“With partners we have used a relational approach to working with families – rather than doing things for them or to them – to ensure that when children and families need help they receive it in the right way and at the right time.

“Families have told us that they like this way of working and the impact of this approach can be seen in the positive outcomes we have delivered for children and young people in Leeds.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with other local authorities, and to share our insight and experience of a different and more positive way for Children’s Social Work Services to work with children and families.”

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