Posted: Wed 21st Oct 2020

Flintshire parents set to receive mental health support to reduce number of children in care in north east Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Oct 21st, 2020

Parents are set to receive mental health support in a bid to reduce the number of children being taken into care in North East Wales.

Both Flintshire and Wrexham Council are working alongside with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to prevent families from being broken up.

The initiative aimed at assisting parents with low to moderate mental health issues is one of three being pursued by the public bodies through a grant funding pot of £3m for the whole of north Wales.

A residential care home would also be created in the area to meet the needs of young people whilst attempts are made to reunite them with their families or find a long term fostering placement.

Meanwhile, therapeutic support would be provided for young people who need it, according to a report set to go before councillors in Flintshire later this week.

A senior official said the schemes were designed to help children who are teetering on the edge of entering the care system.

In the document, the local authority’s chief officer for social services Neil Ayling said: “Our main aim is to support families to care for their own children, and to prevent them, if safe to do so, from becoming looked after.

“This is what the majority of families want and where most children will best achieve their potential.

“A reoccurring feature of referrals to the Early Help Hub is the mental health needs of the parents bringing up their children.

“Regularly, the parents needs do not meet the thresholds for support from community mental health teams but their mental well-being is impacting on their ability to effectively nurture their children.

“CIW (Care Inspectorate Wales) engagement activity highlighted this feature and recommended that the local authority explore how it can bridge this gap as part of its early intervention strategy.”

As part of the programme, a part time social work post has been funded to work with parents with mental health needs.

A health and social care team has also been set up to provide assistance for young people who don’t meet the threshold for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, but are struggling to control their behaviour.

In addition, a property has already been identified in the area to provide residential care, which could cover either just Flintshire or extend to Wrexham as well.

Mr Ayling said it would reduce the council’s reliance on expensive out of county placements.

He said: “There can be occasions where a placement (with family or carer) can reach crisis point and breakdown.

“In these emergency situations the choices for placements can be limited and can result in long term high cost out of county provision.

“We are seeking an alternative, where a local authority residential care provides short term intensive multi-systemic therapy model.

“This would enable an in-depth assessment of the young person to fully understand their needs, whilst providing therapeutic work with them and their families.

“The intention would be to de-escalate the crisis, assess and understand the core issues/needs of the family, and work with them to develop their skills/relationships with a view to reunification so that young person can appropriately step down back to their family network.”

Members of Flintshire Council’s social and health care scrutiny committee will be asked to support the initiatives when they meet virtually on Thursday, October 22.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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