More children in Wolverhampton are being helped to remain with their families rather than having to be taken into care, bucking the national trend.
The City of Wolverhampton Council is transforming the help it gives to struggling families, identifying problems sooner and providing support to enable them to function properly.
As a result, the number of Looked after Children in Wolverhampton has fallen from 780 in March to 710 this month. Nationally, the number of children in care has risen by 1% in the last year.
Councillor Val Gibson, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We are committed to doing all we can to ensure that children are able to grow up safely and happily with their families, and keep to a minimum the number of children who ultimately have to be taken into care.
“Like other parts of the country, the number of Looked After Children in Wolverhampton increased substantially over the last few years, partly because of greater awareness of safeguarding issues and also as a result of family breakdown because of the economic downturn.
"We have responded to this challenge and thanks to the work we are doing to transform children's services in the city we are spotting struggling families earlier and providing better support, which in turn has led to a reduction in the number of children having to be taken into care. We are also ensuring that only those children who need to go into care do so.
"As a result, the number of children in care has fallen dramatically this year. We have achieved this by improving the early identification of, and help for, families who need support, meaning we can provide assistance at the first available opportunity and enable more children to remain with their families if appropriate.
"We are also in the process of developing a Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub for Wolverhampton, which will have an instrumental role to play in protecting children and young people by bringing together professionals from across the statutory and voluntary sectors to work much more closely on safeguarding issues.
"Of course, there are still many instances where a child has to be taken into care, and when this happens, we are managing their placements closely with the aim of providing them with a permanent family as soon as possible.
"At the same time, we are recruiting more foster carers who are willing to take children into their homes on a short or longer term basis, and I would encourage anyone interested in carrying out this vital and life-enhancing role to please contact our Fostering in Wolverhampton team to find out more.
“Equally, we are also recruiting more adopters, and if families would like to consider adopting a child, they can find out more by contacting Adoption in the Black Country.”
To find out more about fostering, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/fostering. Anyone interested in adopting a child should please visit www.adoptionblackcountry.co.uk.