Millions to be spent in Lancashire to reduce number of children taken into care

Photo posed by model.'Credit: NSPCC
Photo posed by model.'Credit: NSPCC
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Lancashire County Council is to invest £6m into a new scheme designed to reduce the number of children being taken into care.

The Government has confirmed the council is also one of 18 local authorities who will receive a share of £84m to fund Strengthening Families, Protecting Children schemes.

Specialist professionals will work with families to address some of the issues that can lead to families breaking down, such as substance misuse, domestic abuse and mental health problems.

A key part of the scheme, will be to encourage parents to take positive steps to address any issues they may have.

It is hoped early intervention by experts will keep more families together, ensuring fewer children need to leave their homes.

It is planned that intervention through partners including schools, the police, health and other voluntary, community and faith sector organisations, will enable more families to be supported and complement the work of new family safeguarding teams.

Extra help will also be provided to children and young people when it is in their best interests to go into local authority care.

The new way of working was pioneered by Hertfordshire County Council in 2015 and has since been extended to other areas of the country.

Research has shown the scheme has the potential to reduce the number of children involved in care proceedings by around 38 per cent over three years.

County Coun Phillippa Williamson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “It’s fantastic news that Lancashire County Council has secured this much-needed funding.

“This is an innovative and new way of looking at the way we support children and families.

“There are currently more than 2,000 children in care in Lancashire, which is higher than the national average.

“We want to ensure the best outcome for each and every child, and believe that in some cases early intervention to address problems within a family may mean a child could remain at home with proper support.

“Research shows that if children can stay with their parents in a stable home and family environment, they should.”