Children and young people in care in Essex are set to benefit from a new approach to residential care following a £3million boost from the Department for Education’s (DfE) Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme.
The successful outcome of Essex County Council’s (ECC) bid to the programme was announced today, Thursday 6 July, by Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, in his first speech to the children’s social care sector at the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) conference.
The funding – part of a £30million package being shared nationally – will support the development of an alternative to traditional residential care over the next three years, aimed at children who have previously had multiple, unsuccessful care placements not only in Essex, but also in Hertfordshire and Norfolk.
It will involve trialling intensive and targeted support within the family home, combined with periods of time in care, which will mean the level of overall state intervention required is greatly reduced and the experience for vulnerable young people is improved.
Councillor Dick Madden, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “I’m delighted the DfE has recognised the value of our bid and excited to work in partnership with Hertfordshire and Norfolk, as well as local children’s homes and the voluntary sector to deliver our vision.
“Taking a more innovative approach to delivering children’s social care is drastically needed across the country if we are to continue achieving positive outcomes for young people and I’m delighted we’re one of the organisations leading the way in pioneering new methods and ways of working.
“We’re committed to sharing our learning with the sector over the next three years and improving the stability and wellbeing of young people not just in Essex, but across the country.”
Not only will the new project allow ECC to support children and young people already in care, it will also focus on early prevention to enable, where it is safe and appropriate to do so, children to remain at home with their families in the first instance.
Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, said:
“Through the Innovation Programme, we continue to fund exciting and pioneering projects that look to shake-up our traditional approach to social care.
“Together they proffer a broad and balanced portfolio which both test new innovations, and scale and spread those that have been successful in Round One of the programme.
“I am delighted that we have supported this project, and look forward to continuing to hear about its great work in the future.”