North Yorkshire has been chosen to lead an £84m Government roll out to councils across the UK, which includes the council’s ground-breaking programme to support children and young people at risk of entering care.
North Yorkshire is one of only three councils in the country, along with Leeds and Hertfordshire, to share the cash in a landmark initiative called the Strengthening Families Protecting Children programme.
The idea is to work with other councils and develop their services to become more successful in supporting young people on the edge of care to reconnect with their families and reduce risky behaviour.
Already North Yorkshire has been supporting Middlesbrough as a trailblazer to adopt its ground-breaking No Wrong Door programme and over the next five years will also support Rochdale, Redcar and Cleveland, Norfolk, Warrington and Leicester City.
No Wrong Door has helped to reduce North Yorkshire’s looked-after population by 18 per cent in five years and has led to a £2m year-on-year saving.
The vast majority of young people (86 per cent) referred to No Wrong Door remain out of the care system and the use of residential placements has fallen by half.
The vast majority also remain in education, employment or training and levels of criminal activity have reduced by almost 40 per cent.
No Wrong Door avoids the high costs of placement breakdown, of having to use out-of-authority care and preventing young people’s descent into the very expensive criminal justice system. North Yorkshire now makes no out-of-county placements which, given that it costs upwards of £250,000 a year and can go up to several hundred thousand to place a young person in care outside the area of the council, this improvement delivers substantial savings.
“We are immensely proud to be doing this work and extending the No Wrong Door model to councils across the UK,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services.
“We are passionately committed to helping young people turn their back on risky behaviour and to keeping them close to us and their communities with therapeutic, wrap-around, 24/7 support. We are building an international reputation for this ground-breaking work and this Government funding will help us to develop the programme further.
“It has attracted a huge amount of interest because of its effectiveness in keeping children out of care and reconnected with their families and communities and in supporting young people living risky lives to stay safe and achieve in education and in the work place.”
No Wrong Door addresses the chronic problems the care system faces of lack of mental health support for vulnerable young people and foster placements, which frequently break down because of the young people’s behaviour.
The service is centred on two hubs in the county - one in Scarborough, the other in Harrogate which replace traditional council run children’s homes with a range of integrated provision.
This includes residential care home beds; emergency residential beds; community foster family placements; supported accommodation and supported lodgings and outreach support.
NYCC will receive this significant Strengthening Families Government funding over five years to support the implementation of the No Wrong Door model into the six other councils.
They will be expected to make significant savings, similar to those realised in North Yorkshire through reduced number of young people who are remanded to custody; involved in criminal behaviour; in out of authority placements; missing; experiencing placement breakdown; and involved in crisis presentations to mental health and emergency hospital services.