The way children in need and their families receive support in Torbay will be changing.

Torbay Council has led on a successful and innovative bid and secured £1.25 million from the Department of Education to change the way children, young people and families are supported by children’s social care and health workers.

The new money will be used to set up Early Help Practices, bringing together staff from across the whole spectrum of children’s health and care, along with schools, police and community and voluntary organisations. These innovative Practices, which will be building on the work already developed through the Pioneer programme in Integrated Care, will be located in areas across Torbay that most need support, and will work alongside these communities to make sure the services on offer are what they need to improve their lives.

The first Early Help Practice will focus on children and families and will be based in the Barton and Hele area of Torquay.

By committing to this bid, organisations representing the wide range of services agreed to join forces in a common endeavour to give children and families the best possible support. The success of the funding bid means they will now explore the possibility of pooling budgets and attracting new funding opportunities through a new Torbay Public Service Trust.

Director of Children’s Services, Richard Williams, said: “Torbay has been working hard with its partners to find innovative new ways of working that will really reach and support our children and families. We have been leading the way across the South West on the development of a Public Service Trust and we are now really excited to be moving this forward.

“This new way of working will drive us to engage and work with our partners. An important part of the work will be listening to our communities better, so the services we commission are really tailored for our families and their needs. The local community will be key players in shaping how the Trust will deliver support services for them.”

Three Early Help Practices will be established in total, all with new multi-professional teams offering coordinated support. This means that families will not need to keep repeating their story to different agencies.

Work to develop the Early Help Practices will begin in April 2015 following consultation with communities, staff and partner organisations. Staff from all the agencies who will be delivering the Early Help Practices will then begin to work together, with social workers joining the Practices next year to extend the range of support and services available.

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