A new approach to improve child protection in the city has been started after an award-winning scheme which has proved successful elsewhere was launched in the city.
Peterborough City Council launched the Family Safeguarding Team on Wednesday after the authority had a bid accepted for £2.8 million of government funding.
The new team will tackle the so called ‘toxic trio’ of domestic abuse, substance abuse and mental health issues, which are the main factors that put children at risk of significant harm.
It is hoped the team, which will work closely with families across the city, will help reduce the number of children needing to be subject to child protection and to avoid care proceedings and children coming into care wherever possible.
The service is a continuation of an approach piloted in Hertfordshire, which became the overall winner of the Guardian Public Service Awards 2017.
Nicola Curley, assistant director for children’s social care at Peterborough City Council, said everyone at the council was positive the new scheme would be able to provide benefits for vulnerable people in the city.
She said: “We were delighted to receive the funding from the Department for Education’s Innovation Fund to be able to deliver this scheme, which has already had great results in Hertfordshire.
“It delivers support within the family home and encourages families to tackle issues together, as a family. It also uses motivational interviewing to empower parents to think about what they want to change in their lives to meet their children’s needs.”
Councillor Sam Smith, cabinet member for children’s services, said she was pleased Peterborough was taking up the scheme, which had proved successful elsewhere.
She said: “This is a scheme which already has proven success in reducing the number of children coming into care by using specialist adult support workers to partner children’s social workers. It really builds a team around the family unit.
“Testimonials from families and social workers who have used the service in Hertfordshire are extremely positive.”
Key speakers at the launch, which took place at City College Peterborough, included Anthony Douglas, chief executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Scheme and workers from Peterborough City Council, including the family safeguarding team who will be working with families in the coming year.