Newport to spearhead vulnerable children scheme

NEWPORT was chosen to help pioneer a new support scheme for vulnerable children and families in Wales. Newport city council will join Wrexham, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taff councils in the innovative new scheme.

Each of the areas will develop an integrated family support team and the Local Health Boards in their areas.

All local health boards and local authority areas were invited to submit a bid by the end of June for the chance of being one of the pioneers.

The Assembly said Newport was successful because it met the criteria including being able to demonstrate quality of leadership.

These teams are unique to Wales and will bring together social workers, family workers, substance misuse professionals, nurses and health visitors to work directly with families to protect and support vulnerable children.

The teams will start operating next spring with the aim of rolling our across Wales over the next five years.

The plight of vulnerable children has hit the headlines in recent weeks in the wake of the Baby Peter tragedy.

The three areas will receive up to £600,000 each financial year over the next three years to support the establishment of the new teams.

Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas AM, said the scheme will improve outcomes for children and families and strengthen training and career opportunities for staff.

She said the teams will help to earlier identify families with problems and work with families to make the necessary lifestyle changes so as to keep a child or children at home or to earlier identify those parents who are unable to carry out their parenting roles so alternative care.

The new teams will also provide supervised training and development for other staff working within the NHS in Wales and local authorities.

The teams will initially focus on supporting families where one or more parent has a substance misuse problem.

This will support a range of work which is under way to improve mental health and reduce substance misuse.

Health and Social Services Minister Edwina Hart said the new teams will break down boundaries between local government and the NHS to better integrate public services.