£760,000 boost to help protect Blackpool's most vulnerable children
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The investment has been used to develop teams with a range of skills to help keep families together, including experts who will step in to tackle alcohol and drug abuse, domestic abuse and mental health issues.
Known as the Family Safeguarding Model, the approach has already been successful in other parts of the country.
For most of the past decade Blackpool has had the highest rate of children in care in the country, currently standing at 188 per 10,000 population, although this figure is down from 210 per 10,000 just over a year ago.
As well as reducing the number of children living in care, it is hoped to cut down on placement costs with Blackpool Council’s Children’s Services forecast to overspend by £5.4m in the current financial year.
A report to the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee says the council’s Blackpool Families Rock initiative is already helping identify the best way to support those in need.
It says: “A key strength noted by Ofsted and other inspectorate bodies working with Blackpool has been the emerging collaborative approach evident from ‘Blackpool Families Rock’.
“Working alongside families, parents, children and young people has revolutionised how we work to identify the need for, and support change in families to make the environment safer for children.”
The investment will fund the family safeguarding initiative until April next year, after which it is hoped to continue with the approach.
The new team will be led by a manager, and include senior social workers, children and family social workers and children and family practitioners.
Also in the team will be recovery workers working directly with parents who are suffering drug or alcohol abuse, with the aim of helping them change their behaviour.
Domestic abuse practitioners will support parents to break the cycle ofabusive relationships.
Domestic abuse officers will assess people who may pose a risk to their partner, or their family as a whole.
Mental health practitioners will provide support to parents/carers who aresuffering from mental ill-health.
A business support officer will have a role including providing administrative back up for the team.