An innovative project to support vulnerable young people and their families in Sefton has secured government backing worth up to £1.1 million.

The programme – backed by Sefton Council – will bring together local youth justice, family intervention, substance misuse and social work staff to create a single integrated service for young people on the edge of care.

The scheme will place a particular focus on young people at risk of involvement with gangs, child sexual exploitation or likely to go missing from home or care. Young people will also have a single plan and lead worker – regardless of the number of different services that need to be involved.

The news comes just weeks after the Innovation Programme has received a further cash injection from the government, taking the total available for pioneering and new schemes to help some of our most vulnerable children and young people to £100 million.

The money will be used to kick start the most promising proposals for new ways of working such as supporting young people leaving care and taking their first steps into adulthood or looking at new bespoke services such as FGM prevention.

Children and Families Minister, Edward Timpson, said:

“I want to see sparks of innovation emerging in children’s social services up and down the country. The ambition is limitless – we must explore every avenue to ensure we give all children the best possible start in life.

“This exciting new project in Sefton will see vulnerable children and young people given the help and support they need – when they need it – and I’m hugely excited to see what this venture achieves.”

The government’s Innovation Programme will focus on two key target areas – fresh ways of working in children’s social work and better support for young people in or on the edge of care. Exciting proposals so far have included:

  • A group of councils who have designed their own new approach to social work practice, based around getting social workers back into intensive, in-depth work with families;
  • A voluntary organisation interested in developing a single service for young people on the edge of care, cutting across substance misuse, youth justice, social care and family work;
  • A council interested in developing a care pathway approach that provides a detailed assessment of young people’s needs within the first few weeks in care, and provides a consistent team of staff to work with that young person wherever they move through the care system.