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Five councils share £2.5 million to protect children from violence and exploitation

The Youth Endowment Fund (YEF), BBC Children in Need and The Hunter Foundation have awarded five local authorities a share of £2.5 million to test how multi-agency partnerships can keep young people safe from violence and criminal exploitation.

The five local authorities to be awarded funding are Cardiff Council, East Sussex County Council, the London Borough of Newham, Swansea Council and Swindon Borough Council.

The three charities launched their ‘A supportive home’ grant round to learn how different agencies can collaborate more effectively when supporting children, young people and their families.

Children and young people vulnerable to – or experiencing – harm outside the home often have complex needs that require support from different professional agencies – from mental health to youth justice services. Yet fragmented services and difficult-to-navigate referral and assessment processes can sometimes mean children and their families don’t get the support they need, when they need it.

Through the grant round, councils will be funded to put into action recommendations from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care. The review calls for family support that is ‘more responsive, respectful and effective’ and cuts down the number of handovers between different services.

One specific recommendation that will be implemented and evaluated is that family support is ‘delivered by multi-disciplinary teams, embedded in neighbourhoods, harnessing the power of community assets and tailored to local needs.’

The councils will use the funding to bring together teams of skilled practitioners from a diverse range of local organisations and sectors. This includes youth justice services, social care, the police, mental health services, probation, schools and the voluntary sector. Teams will operate from a single community venue, such as family hubs, schools and health settings. Working together, they’ll identify children and young people who are at risk of violence and criminal exploitation, assess the needs of them and their families, and provide targeted and tailored support.

Each partnership will initially receive approximately £500,000 to deliver the project for 18 months. Subject to positive findings from the initial evaluations, the councils’ multi-agency teams will be funded and evaluated for a further two or three years.

Jon Yates, Executive Director at the Youth Endowment Fund, said: “Every child deserves to grow up in a loving and supportive home. This funding round has huge potential to shape how local authorities protect children from harm and exploitation. We’re evaluating every step of the way. This research will yield rich insights about how different agencies and practitioners can work together to help children to live a life free from violence.”

Rachel Carter, Head of Funding Partnerships at BBC Children in Need, said: “BBC Children in Need are committed to ensuring that all children and young people – regardless of the challenges they face – are given the opportunities and support they need to thrive and be the best they can be.  We look forward to seeing how these grants make a difference to young lives, both now and in the future.”

Sir Tom Hunter, Founder, The Hunter Foundation said: “This is a proven formula for success where mutual respect and endeavour is fundamental to success outcomes for all concerned. A single door approach to accessing services and support not only has significantly bigger and faster impact on the young person and their family it also, over time, will make significant savings to the public purse through prevention.” 

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