Bid to cut the number of children in care in Blackpool

Blackpool has a high number of children living in local authority care
Blackpool has a high number of children living in local authority care
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Social workers will co-operate more closely with schools in future in a bid to end the cycle of family breakdown in Blackpool.

The resort has one of the highest levels of children in care in the UK per 10,000 of the population, with a total of 533 in March this year. Children's Services overspent by more than £5m last year.

Now a new plan of action has been put together called 'The Journey of the Child' which sets out a blueprint for improvement including a new approach alongside the police to protecting vulnerable youngsters, the introduction of an early help hub and new relationships with families through schools.

Director of children's services Diane Booth told a meeting of the council's resilient communities and children's scrutiny committee the long term vision was to place social workers in the community.

She said: "We have spent a lot of time building relationships with schools.

"They are fully on board and recognise the need to be part of the joint proposals. They are recognising their need to improve their ability for early intervention.

"In 18 months time we will have dedicated teams wrapped round schools. It's not just social workers, but health workers and others."

It is hoped the move will enable problems to be identified earlier so potential crises can be avoided enabling children to remain with their families.

Councillors said it was vital to halt the stream of children going into care.

Coun David Owen said: "We can never put a financial limit on the protection of children, but the numbers in care continue to rise.

"You wonder to what extent Blackpool Council's budget can continue to accommodate expotential rises.

"It is a problem Blackpool and so many seaside towns have due to inward migration of children and large families.

"I hope management are making representations to government as this is a burden to Blackpool."