The City of Wolverhampton Council has put forward a series of proposals designed to improve early intervention, help prevent family breakdown and ultimately reduce the number of children having to be taken into care.
It seeks to build on the good work that is already taking place through the council's transformation programme, which has put greater emphasis on tackling problems within the family unit and offering support at an earlier stage.
National research shows that outcomes for children in care are generally not good enough, while a recent local review of cases finding around a quarter of children may have been prevented from going into care if their families had received better support sooner.
The outline proposals include the development of new teams which will operate out of 8 new Strengthening Families Hubs across city.
They will offer help and advice on a range of issues, including parenting support, family mediation and relationship counselling, child development and play and behaviour management.
The teams will focus on children of all ages, rather than as 2 separate age groups which is currently the case, enabling them to take a "whole family" approach, and there will also be greater emphasis on providing help and support in the family home, rather than solely from the new Hubs and their associated outreach bases around the city.
Councillor Val Gibson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: "We are committed to doing all we can to ensure that children are able to grow up safely and happily with their families.
"Effective evidence based practice and prevention leads to fewer children ultimately having to come into the care, and so improves outcomes for children and young people and their families.
"There is already a great deal of excellent work taking place across the city to support children and families in need and we want to build on this by making best use of the resources available to us."
Members of the council's Cabinet approved the outline design for the new service last week and it will now be the subject of a 3 month period of consultation with the public, stakeholders and staff. This will help shape formal proposals due to be put forward early next year.
Formal consultation on the proposals began this week and people can have their say by completing a short survey available at Type=articles;Articleid=7869;Title=Children's Service Transformation Public Consultation; or by attending one of the following public meetings:
- Newhampton Arts Centre, Monday 23 November, 9.30am to 11am
- Blakenhall Neighbourhood Nursery, Thursday 26 November, 9.30am to 11am
- Low Hill Community Centre, Monday 30 November, 9.30am to 11am
- Dovecotes Primary School, Thursday 3 December, 5pm to 6.30pm
- Eastfield Community Centre, Monday 7 December, 9.30am to 11am
- Bilston Community Centre, Friday 11 December, 2pm to 3.30pm
- Children's Village, Wednesfield, Monday 14 December, 9.30am to 11am
- Bingley Children's Centre, Wednesday 16 December, 11.30am to 1pm
For more details, please contact Laura Gilyead on 01902 552339 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proposed redesign of children's services sits alongside other key improvements taking place in the city, including the development of Wolverhampton's new Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, or 'MASH'.
Due to go live in January, the MASH will further strengthen safeguarding arrangements by bringing together partner organisations to better protect vulnerable children and young people.
- released: Wednesday 18 November, 2015