Gloucestershire

Child protection contract in Gloucestershire backed

Nearly £1m is to be spent over three years in an attempt to keep children out of care in Gloucestershire.

The Conservative-led county council has backed plans to fund Functional Family Therapy (FFT) for its most vulnerable families out of existing budgets.

FFT works by providing intensive support to youngsters so they can stay with their parents and siblings.

The council is now inviting tenders to provide the service.

"The earlier we get involved... the more chance we have of helping them," a council spokesman said.

'Positive support'

At present there are 493 children in care in Gloucestershire.

The council hopes even if FFT shortened the time a youngster stays in care by two months then a cost saving could be achieved.

The spokesman added: "These troubled families tend to be struggling with multiple problems - from being involved in crime to children missing school or drug or alcohol abuse issues.

"We know that the earlier we can get involved and provide support, the more chance we have of helping them to get more out of life, preventing their children from coming into care and supporting them to be a positive force in their communities.

"Providing intensive short-term support gives us a huge opportunity to turn lives around.

"It is far more effective and less expensive to help families before they reach crisis point."

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