A report setting out Highland’s Children’s Services Families First strategy was presented to and approved by members at the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee.
The strategy’s vision is summarised simply as:
“To safely ensure that children and young people remain with their families and within their Highland communities.”
It is also underpinned by a set of core principles of family support, which are outcome focused in preserving, protecting and upholding the rights of children within their families in the Highlands.
Chair of the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee, Councillor David Fraser, said:
“The approved Families First strategy will see a radical shift in spend in order that we can invest in family support and family-based care – such as kinship and fostering – as opposed to conventional residential placements, either within Highland or out-of-area.
“These are typically high-cost interventions which do not deliver the best outcomes for the majority of young people or their families.
“We recognise the significant benefits which can come about through early intervention, which enables us to keep children within Highland and within the immediate family home where it is possible and safe to do so.”
£1m one-off funding has been agreed through the Health and Prosperity Strategy and will be realigned to Families First to complete the final stages of the strategy’s structure and redesign, namely:
- early and preventative help, and
- intensive support targeted for those families whose children and young people are on the cusp of care.
Councillor Fraser continued:
“We have agreed a strategy which is focused on tackling poverty and, in tandem, the associated adverse experiences that many children and families experience across the Highlands.
“It is a financially sustainable move away from conventional forms of intervention and delivers optimal outcomes for families and young people throughout Highland.”