Placement Services Change Programme helping region's most vulnerable young people
Highland Council’s Placement Services Change Programme (PSCP) is helping make a real difference for the region’s most vulnerable young people.
The Placements Team in Children’s Services has developed a creative, courageous and dedicated programme to work with multi-disciplinary professionals to identify children out with Highland whose needs can be met back in the local area.
A combination of new services and the creative use of existing provisions is enabling children to remain in the communities they know, reducing the need for additional out of area placements.
The Programme has developed: two new specialist residential units, two supported through care units, a centre for Care Experienced young people, properties across Highland for returning older young people and an outreach support and respite hub to work with families to keep children at home when possible.
The most important aspect of the programme is the much improved educational and emotional well being outcomes for returning young people compared with Out of Area placements.
Highland Council Leader, Margaret Davidson, has welcomed the Placement Services Change Programme report, saying: “This fantastic project has placed the wellbeing and future development of Highland’s care experienced young people at heart.
“It’s clear that this multi-agency approach, coupled with listening to the needs of our young people is having an extremely positive impact on their lives.”
In the last year 42 children have returned to Highland or been able to remain in the area, avoiding costs of £6 million. The money that would have been spent on expensive Out of Area placements has been invested in the development of services in Highland. A budget over spend of £4.4 million in 2018/19 is currently forecasted as an underspend for this year. Such value for money is achieved because in-area provisions typically cost less than Out of Area provisions.
The Placement Services Change Programme is an extension of the Council’s Out of Area Returns Programme, which achieved a COSLA Excellence Award in 2016 for Achieving Better Outcomes. Project ideas and new services came from extensive consultations with staff, managers and Care Experienced Young People (CEYP) with valued input from the Council's Commercial and Efficiency Team.