£84m investment for new projects to keep children out of care

Marking the 30th anniversary of the Children’s Act, the government has invested £84 million for projects designed to strengthen and support families with children in and on the edge of care.

Up to 20 councils will receive funding to help improve their practice, reaffirming the 1989 Act’s central idea that, where appropriate, families should stay together and children should be brought up with their parents.

Where there are consistently high numbers of children being taken into care, the government’s Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme will roll out the three successful projects to other eligible councils. The projects – which aim to build resilience among more vulnerable families and improve how councils design and run their services – were initially developed by Leeds, Hertfordshire and North Yorkshire councils, all of which were rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

The three projects that will be introduced into 20 new areas are:

  • Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding – With this particular project in place, Hertfordshire saw a 39 per cent drop in the number of days children spent in care.
  • Leeds Family Valued – Results from the project found Leeds managed to nearly half the number of children’s services Protection Plans in six years.
  • North Yorkshire No Wrong Door – Evaluation of the project revealed a 38 per cent fall in arrests of individuals during the first 18 months of the programme and a 57 per cent reduction in A&E visits.

Damian Hinds, Education Secretary, concluded:

“Every child deserves to grow up in a stable, loving family and go through life confident that someone always has your back. But for too many children, this is simply not a reality.

“In the year that sees the 30th anniversary of the Children’s Act, we must stay true to its heart – that where possible and safe, children are best brought up, loved and supported by their parents.”

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