Glasgow’s Children’s Services Set For Radical Overhaul
Glasgow’s children’s services are set for a radical overhaul following a decision by Glasgow City Council’s Executive Committee. As part of a four-year-plan, a greater emphasis will be placed upon ensuring vulnerable young people remain within their own homes. The new direction will also see the current provision for children’s residential units either replaced or upgraded to reflect modern standards.
The redrawn children’s service will see £3.3 million dedicated to intensive community based services over the next four years. A capital fund worth a total of £11.2 million will also be allocated to improve the Council’s stock of residential units. The sale of existing children’s residential units is expected to raise £2.1m and this will be ploughed into the capital fund.
Following approval from the Executive Committee, the Council will now establish an implementation team to manage the children’s services programme, which will involve:
- developing more community support services for vulnerable children;
- continuing to recruit and train foster carers;
- modernising the Council’s children’s residential homes;
- reducing use of residential schools.
Councillor John McKenzie, Executive Member for Social Work, welcomed the backing of the Council as a clear indication of Glasgow’s readiness to support the city’s young people. He said: “We owe it to some of our most vulnerable young people to provide the best care possible. We believe that this can be achieved within the family home, within foster families and within the community.
“Where we can, we will do everything in our power to support young people and give them the best chance of a happy, productive and secure future. Our current fostering campaign has proven to be a huge success and over the next four years, we hope to reduce the number of looked after children housed in residential settings.”
A key element of the plan will be to develop the kind of services that can sustain more young people within their own homes while also identifying and combating the risks which see many placed in the care of the authority. This will involve providing better supports for the young person’s family, encouraging young people’s own coping mechanisms, working closely with schools to ensure the young person stays within mainstream education and ensuring that young people are supported within the community.
But where necessary young people will also be accommodated in residential units, which are fully modernised and fully compliant with expected standards. Glasgow City Council currently operates nineteen different residential units of varying capacity with an overall capacity of 129 beds.
These will now be replaced with standard-sized 8-bed units, which are either new builds or extensions upon existing facilities. This will give residents more living space and this should allow the Council to better address the needs of young people.
Councillor McKenzie added: “We aim to improve the facilities for those who do live in residential units, giving them more personal space, privacy and dignity. Creating better living environments for young people close to their communities and schools will be far more conducive to providing better care and should lead to better lives for the young people concerned.“