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Staffordshire families get life-changing support

Some of the most vulnerable families in Staffordshire are getting life-changing help in an effort to reduce the amount of children coming into care.

A number of new initiatives by Staffordshire County Council have meant that more than 80% of the 524 children supported by Edge of Care and Intensive Family Support Services in 2016/17 were able to stay with their families.

The projects include the Intensive Prevention Service which helps those aged 11 to 17 with emotional, psychological or behavioural problems to stay at home; Breathing Space which supports pregnant mothers who have already had a child taken into care; the Reunification service which supports young people to return home from long-term care and the Intensive Family Support Service which targets substance abuse.

The services, which have prevented children from being taken into care, have already saved more than £2million in costs over the past year.

County Councillor Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “Staffordshire like many other local authorities is experiencing an increase in the amount of children coming in to care, which in turn brings cost pressures. By offering a package of intensive support to families on the edge of care, we are helping to change the lives of our most vulnerable families for the better and avoid the need for costly, statutory intervention.

“Our successful initiatives like Breathing Space and the Intensive Prevention Service mean we have helped deliver real results for families and children in Staffordshire in recent years. The aim is to provide the right mix of support from professionals, the voluntary sector, communities, families and friends so that people can live their lives to the fullest, and work with partners and communities in local areas to identify what’s there, what works and what’s missing.

“We will always take immediate action if a child is at risk. This new approach aims to create more stable, supportive homes for our children, reducing the need for our help, and allowing us to target specialist support where it really makes a difference.”