Foster care in Norfolk receives financial boost
Two innovative schemes aimed at supporting foster carers and vulnerable families will be rolled out next year thanks to a successful bid by Norfolk County Council to gain extra funding from central government.
Yesterday children's minister Tim Loughton announced that the council, in partnership with Suffolk County Council, would benefit from a slice of �6m alongside 36 other local authorities.
The council is yet to be told how much of the money it will receive, but has pledged to use the funding to implement two programmes which will be focused on the Great Yarmouth and Waveney areas.
The first, the Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care programme for Adolescents (MTFC-A), will help young people with significant behavioural problems who are on the verge of residential care or custody, while the second, Keeping Foster Carers and Kinship Carers Supported programme (KEEP), is designed to improve the parenting skills of foster carers in a bid to lower disruptions to placements. Both are due to begin in September 2012.
Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services at Norfolk County Council, said: 'Securing funding for these innovative projects will mean that vulnerable children and young people in Norfolk, and the people who look after them, will shortly have more support.
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'These programmes have been proven to work elsewhere and once up and running I have no doubt that they will make a real difference to the community in the Great Yarmouth area.
'It's so important that our young people get the best possible start in life and this money will help us to achieve this.'
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Mr Loughton said: 'For those children who can not remain with their families, we want to ensure that those responsible for caring for them have the right support to help them meet their often challenging needs.
'We know that programmes such as Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care have a track record in helping some of our most vulnerable children have a more stable and successful childhood.'
Currently there are approximately 990 vulnerable children in care in Norfolk.
Earlier this year the council launched an urgent campaign to recruit extra foster carers as it predicted the number of children would top 1,000 within 12 months for the first time.
The plea resulted in a surge of enquiries and the number of visitors to its foster caring website soared by almost 70pc within the first 12 days.
For more information, visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/fostering or call 0344 800 8020