County Council bosses in Staffordshire have approved plans to put more cash into preventing children being taken into care.
The cabinet has today (20 November) approved using an extra £8.1m for additional frontline staff and more preventative work to keep children with their families.
It wants to reduce the number of looked after youngsters by 400, from a current record high of 1,248, by 2026.
The cash will fund an extra 34 family support workers across Staffordshire and two new court teams, as well as providing additional training for existing staff and a move towards a more ‘district-based’ approach.
In the last 10 years the number of children in Staffordshire who are receiving the most intensive support from social services has risen from 1138 to 1,984, with the cost of caring for the most vulnerable, including looked after children, increasing from £59.1m to £116.5m.
Helen Riley, Deputy Chief Executive and Director for Families and Communities, said: “Families tell us that they do not want to be caught up in ‘the system’ and evidence shows the results are better for everyone if we can intervene early and find safe solutions within the family group or the community.
“Our priority is protecting vulnerable children and supporting them to become happy, confident, independent adults.
“Our front line staff do a remarkable job in often difficult circumstances and this additional investment will allow them to do more where it’s needed most.”