Praise for Newport City Council and Barnardo's joint work with children and families

Posted on Friday 5th August 2016

Newport City Council’s approach to working with children and families, with the help of charity Barnardo’s Cymru, has won high praise following an independent review.

The Institute of Public Care (IPC) recently evaluated the Integrated Family Support Service (IFSS) which is delivered by Newport City Council and children’s charity Barnardo’s Cymru – the first partnership of its kind in the UK. The Institute’s verdict was that it was “one of the most impressive overall models” it had seen.

 Just over five years ago, the IFSS was set up with a vision to develop a range of family support services capable of promoting child and family wellbeing and actively preventing the need for care and support.

 The IPC report found that the partnership has developed a consistently evidence-based, preventative and cost effective set of services.

 The report highlighted a number of positive outcomes including:

-       Referrals to social services have more than halved

-       Re-referral rates have reduced significantly

-       The rate of children in need has steadied and is low compared with similar

-       authorities in Wales

-       The number of children with disabilities requiring a child in need intervention has reduced dramatically

-       Newport now has one of the lowest and steadiest rates of looked after children per 10,000 population compared with similar authorities, below the national average

-       Staff recruitment and retention figures have improved significantly

 The IFSS is made up of a range of preventative and acute support services

 One particular area highlighted in the report was the work carried out by the Family Assessment and Support Service. Around half of all families the team had worked with, many of whom were on the brink of care, had very positive outcomes including children being able to remain safely at home.

 In comparison, in another less deprived part of the UK where no such evidence based service exists, the IPC recently found only 21 per cent of families had such positive outcomes.

 The report also highlighted the work carried out to support children with additional needs. This preventative service works with the families of children with a cognitive or physical impairment and noted that children are supported effectively to remain at home, in mainstream school settings, and to avoid the need for social care supports such as formal respite care.

Councillor Gail Giles, Newport City Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Young People, said: “There can be no argument that the focus of our children’s social services department has to be about the wellbeing of our young people and their families. The development of Newport’s Integrated Family Support Service, in partnership with Barnardo’s Cymru, has clearly embraced this ethos and I am delighted that independent experts have recognised and acknowledged the excellent work being done.

 “As well as the improvements for young people that have been achieved, the IPC has also recognised the vision, management and skilled workers of the partnership. I am confident that we are in a strong position to take forward the recommendations for potential future development and ensure we continue to deliver a sector-leading service.”

 Paula Timms, Interim Director for Barnardo’s Cymru, said: “Innovation in practice and service delivery are central to Barnardo’s commitment to secure better outcomes for more children. The independent evaluation of our collaborative partnership with Newport City Council demonstrates the impact and effectiveness of partners working together in new ways so that vulnerable children, young people and their families can enjoy the best possible wellbeing.”

The Institute of Public Care (IPC) is part of Oxford Brookes University. Their core purpose is to ensure that people needing care and support feel safer, healthier, happier and more in control. They strive to ensure that public, private and voluntary sectors work together successfully, and that public care resources are used effectively to secure the best outcomes for individuals, families and communities.

 Read the IPC’s evaluation of the Integrated Family Support Service in Newport

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