More areas trial new child protection project

Posted: 17th April 2024

Seven more areas in England have been selected to trial a programme to improve child protection.

The Families First for Children (FFC) scheme was launched in three areas in 2023 after after a major child care review in 2022 and reports into the murders of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and Star Hobson in 2020.

The government said the £45m programme would make sure targeted early help was available for families experiencing domestic abuse, addiction, or poor mental health before issues escalated and children were put at risk of harm.

New ways of working include involving the wider family in decision making at an earlier stage and introducing “stronger and clearer multi-agency safeguarding arrangements”.

The scheme will be implemented in Luton in Bedfordshire, Redbridge and Lewisham in Greater London, Warrington in Cheshire, Walsall in the West Midlands, Warwickshire and The Wirral later this year.

It follows initial testing in Dorset, Lincolnshire, and Wolverhampton.

Star Hobson died in September 2020 after months of “neglect, cruelty and injury” by her mother and her partner

The 2022 review found that tens of thousands more children could end up in care without radical changes to child protection and called for early intervention for struggling families.

As part of the programme, multi-disciplinary family help teams will be created to make sure families with multiple needs can access all the support they need earlier and dedicated multi-agency child protection teams.

The changes are expected to have a significant impact on how teams operate and the system will be tested and adapted if necessary ahead of any further roll out to other areas, the Department for Education said.

Almost £8m has been allocated within the £45m project to fund a new family network pilot in seven additional local authority areas.

The scheme will look at supporting and keeping families together and children out of care where appropriate, which was a recommendation made by the review of children’s social care in 2022, the department said.

Children, Families and Wellbeing Minister David Johnston said: “Every child deserves a safe and loving environment, where they are protected and can thrive.”

“The progress we are making with our children’s social care reforms,” he said, “will make sure all families can access the right support before issues escalate, helping keep more children in safe and loving homes.”

Source – More areas in England trial new child protection project – BBC News

Categories: News