Norfolk to pioneer new care programme

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Social workers in West Norfolk are set to take part in a pioneering project which officials say could revolutionise the sector.

Norfolk County Council is one of 10 local authorities across England that are taking part in the £4.7 million Signs of Safety initiative.

The scheme, which was developed in Australia, is being funded by the government and is designed to encourage families to get involved in assessing their own needs, identifying the risks that children face and coming up with ways of keeping children safe.

James Joyce, chairman of the county council’s children’s services committee, said: “This project has the potential to transform how we work with families in Norfolk.

“We know that families who find themselves in the child protection system can feel that they have no control over what is happening to them and this can make them fearful and defensive.

“This approach is aimed at working far more collaboratively with families, building on the strengths that they already have and identifying achievable targets that will help to improve the lives of their children.”

Mr Joyce admitted there would still be times when some children would need to be taken into care.

But he added: “We are hopeful that, over time, this will help us to further reduce our looked after children numbers and improve the lives of Norfolk’s children and young people.”

The scheme also gives staff access to additional training and resources.