Government pledges more support for children and families

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Children and families could be able to access personalised services via a single worker under plans outlined alongside the pre-Budget report this week.

In a document from the Treasury and the Department for Education and Skills, the government argues that the new lead professionals introduced under the Every Child Matters agenda could also be given responsibility for commissioning individual packages of services.

“The lead professional would then become a ‘single account holder’ for the child or family they are responsible for, working with them to commission services from a wide range of providers – statutory, private and voluntary,” the paper states.

The model is set to be tested in up to 10 high-achieving local authorities.

The paper, Support for parents: the best start for children, also outlines plans for the introduction of “parent school advisers” in over 600 primary and secondary schools in the most deprived areas.

These workers will support children and families where there are early signs that they could benefit from extra help, such as a parenting programme, mentoring or extra tuition. An extra £20m was announced in the pre-Budget report to support the piloting of the new role.

A new pilot project to establish peer mentoring schemes in 180 secondary schools, creating 3,600 matched mentor and mentee pairs over two years, was also announced in the pre-Budget report.

In addition, a peer mentoring scheme for 600 young looked after children aged between 10 and 15 will also be established to look at how mentoring can improve the outcomes for looked after children.

The pre-Budget report also pledged an additional £53m over 2006-7 and 2007-8 to extend Youth Opportunity Funds, which were proposed in the youth green paper Youth Matters as a means of allowing young people to establish their own small-scale projects. The new money will bring the total available to £75m – or an average of 500,000 per council.

Pre-Budget report from www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/pre_budget_report/prebud_pbr05/prebud_pbr05_index.cfm
Support for parents: the best start for children from www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/F58/FF/pbr05_supportparents_391.pdf

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