Council's successful grant bid to Strengthening Families programme

Telford & Wrekin Council is to get a share of £84m funding from the Department for Education as part of the Strengthening Families Protecting Children programme.

The money will be used to launch a ground-breaking new social work model called “Family Safeguarding” which has been used to transform the lives of troubled families elsewhere in the country.

Telford & Wrekin Council is one of 20 local authorities to benefit from the fund and is in the first cohort of councils to receive a grant.

This will be rolled out from October 2020 and will be used to recruit new staff. The idea is that specialists will be recruited to form a social work team that works with an entire family.

This is a model pioneered by Hertfordshire County Council where it has had enormous success in improving family lives. Telford & Wrekin Council plans to use the grant to work closely with Hertfordshire social care teams with the aim of mirroring their success.

Posts recruited to the initiative will include a mental health, domestic abuse and substance misuse specialist who will work alongside safeguarding and early help teams.

This successful bid builds on a whole range of work that Telford & Wrekin Council has carried out with schools and families in the borough, including a new Belonging Strategy and a strategy for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

Councillor Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “It is fantastic news that our bid for this money has been successful and it reflects the high quality of the Statement of Readiness that officers submitted to the Department for Education earlier this year.

“”Our priorities include “protecting and supporting our most vulnerable children and adults” and “securing the best start in life for children and young people. Part of our programme to Protect, care and Invest to create a better borough.

“As part of this, and despite facing considerable financial pressures, our cabinet has agreed to invest an additional £5.78m into Children’s Safeguarding and Family Support in 2019/20.

“This successful grant application reflects that commitment and we will be contributing £339,226 towards the cost of the programme and implementation of the model through a combination of new and existing resource.

“We have also shared details of the Family Safeguarding model with key local partners – all of whom have shown overwhelming support for joining the programme and have agreed to identify champions to work with us.

“We told the Department for Education that we believe that the right conditions are in place in Telford and Wrekin to achieve genuine transformation and sustained change and our success in bidding for this money is an endorsement of that.

“We have been doing fantastic work with our schools through a range of new initiatives including new behavioural hubs and new mental health initiatives and this grant will bolster all of that work.

“It gives us a great opportunity to build on our wider offer while helping strengthen families that are most in need of our help.”

The council has also announced a £35m investment in its educational estate to ensure there are sufficient school places available to accommodate the borough’s economic and population growth.

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