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Cabinet commits to new agency to support children

Published: Wednesday, 18th December 2019

Children in need of long-term loving homes are to benefit from a new initiative that will see councils work together to best meet their needs.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet yesterday (Tuesday) agreed that the authority join the Together4Children initiative. The project is expected to see three other councils join over the coming weeks: Shropshire Council, Staffordshire County Council and Telford and Wrekin Council, with a formal launch next April.

By signing up to the agency, all four authorities will commit their children’s social care services to work together to prioritise providing children in need of long-term care with permanence. This will mean supporting children’s emotional attachment, physical stability and legal permanence, in terms of who provides parental responsibility.

Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This partnership is a hugely positive step. It will bring four authorities together, working across administrative borders, to find local, caring, stable and loving homes for children in care. We will all be working with the combined aim of giving children who need our support a sense of stability, continuity, commitment and identity.

“The new arrangement will mean we can match children and the right carers more quickly, reducing any delays in finding the right permanent families for children in care across the region. It also means we can widen the choice of potential adopters.”

The Together4Children partnership is the first of its kind in the country and has received support from the Department for Education. It means that all four authorities are working together to align their adoption practices, so that work including recruitment and assessment is delivered in a joined up way.

Councillor Evans added: “Supporting our city’s vulnerable children and young people remains our priority, and we are absolutely committed to doing all we can to ensure that they get the care they need.

“We are investing significant resources to improve our services and this work is continuing at pace. It is the right thing to do to bring partner authorities together with the goal of providing the best opportunities for children in need of care.

“It is an exciting partnership because we are already testing new ways of working, including developing an early permanency project, a post-adoption project, and we will be using DfE money to develop fostering services too.”

The new arrangements will see the city council maintain its current level of investment in the service. The initial partnership will be for two years, with an option for a further three until March 2025.

For all media enquiries please the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671 (journalists only)