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‘Edging away from Care’ report published

A new Ofsted report, ‘Edging away from Care’, shows how services can successfully support young people at risk of entering care to stay with their families.

The report was based on information from interviews with young people, their families and the managers and professionals who were delivering support in 11 local authority areas to determine the main factors that contributed to effective help.

It showed that “services which successfully supported young people and their families were able to work flexibly and responsively to address the range of identified needs of the young person and family”.

The most successful services incorporated clear and explicitly stated models of intervention, consistent referral pathways to services, and a prompt, flexible approach. This also involved listening to the views of the family and the young person to develop mutually agreed goals, with a regular review of progress.

As a result of the support provided, the young people reported improved behaviour and relationships, increased school attendance and levels of confidence. None of the young people who contributed to this survey had entered care.

Significant savings were also made by avoiding a child entering care, ranging from multi-agency savings of £93,000 for one family alone, to £688,000 in total for a children’s services budget.

One of the local authorities involved was the London Borough of Hillingdon, whose Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, Cllr David Simmonds, said: “By using a team of people with a variety of expertise we can actually engage with children and young people according to what they specifically need. Ultimately this support enables more families to stay together – something that benefits the whole community.”

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