The City of Wolverhampton Council’s Transforming Children's Services Programme was launched in 2016 as a 5 year initiative. In that time it has made significant progress in delivering a range of improvements and a further 5 year transformation plan has now been put in place.
Through the programme, the council has been able to reduce the number of children and young people having to be taken into care, increase the number of foster carers and adoptive families, improve educational outcomes for young learners, and improve engagement with children, young people and their families through #YES (the Youth Engagement Strategy) and the launch of the Yo! holiday activity programme. Children’s Services were also judged to be Good by Ofsted.
The wide ranging programme includes a range of transformational schemes such as The House Project, which has supported 10 children and young people leaving care to move into their own homes and live independently, and the HeadStart programme to improve the emotional mental health and wellbeing of 10 to 16 year olds by giving them the skills they need to cope with the challenges of modern life.
The Supporting Families programme is helping eligible families turn their lives around and achieve better outcomes thanks to help from local organisations, the Eclipse project has seen the installation of a new case management system across Children's Services to further strengthen support for vulnerable children and their families, and the Family Values project is improving the recruitment and retention of foster carers in Wolverhampton.
Following the merging of Children's Services and Education in 2019, the programme was widened to include the Social Workers in Schools project, to evaluate whether placing social workers in education settings improves outcomes for young people.
It also includes the Culture of Inclusion project, designed to ensure the council has robust systems in place to respond to and manage demand across services for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and, linked to this, the Culture of Belonging project, which focuses on reducing exclusions in schools. One of this project’s key activities in engagement and participation, which has led to the establishment of HY5!, the SEND youth forum.
Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Giving our city's children and young people the best possible start in life is a key priority for the council, and the Transforming Children's Services Programme is performing really well in helping us deliver on our vision.
"Each project is making a real difference to professional practice, the way we work with partners and, most importantly, leading to a better quality of life for the children and young people we support, including the most vulnerable in our care.
“Our priorities have always been to lead innovation, be more efficient and effectively manage the demand on services, all while delivering quality provision to children, young people and their families.
“While we are delighted with the impact that the Transforming Children's Services Programme has had so far, there is much more to do, and it will continue to play a key role in making improvements as we move forward.”
Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, added: “The expansion of the Transforming Children's Services Programme to include education is already beginning to bear fruit and I look forward to seeing the impact that initiatives such as the Culture of Inclusion and Culture of Belonging projects have on improving outcomes for our children and young people in the years ahead.”