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Children and families set to benefit from proposed education and social work merger

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Children and families set to benefit from proposed education and social work merger

Renfrewshire Council is considering merging its education and social work departments in a move designed to improve services for children, families and vulnerable people.

The proposal is part of the council’s ambitious agenda for tackling poverty and giving everyone in Renfrewshire the same opportunities to learn, to achieve, to enjoy good health and to get a job.

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If approved, the move would also ensure that the council is in the best possible position to meet the challenges posed by a raft of new legislation about how education, health, criminal justice and social work services are delivered.

Councillors will consider the plan at a meeting of the council on 26 June 2014.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said, “Renfrewshire Council is widely recognised as being at the forefront of early intervention, using strategies that are proven to work.

“Providing children, families and vulnerable young people with help before problems get too serious delivers better results than trying to address the symptoms after the damage has been done. Our early intervention strategy includes a range of different programmes such as Functional Family Therapy.

“Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is targeted at young people, aged 11 to 18 years old who have behavioural problems including: committing crimes, a history of violence and drink and drug abuse. FFT uses intensive therapy and very high levels of support, delivered over three to four months, to change behaviour.

“This approach relies on all the agencies involved working in partnership. Bringing Education and Social Work together is clearly the best way of ensuring the needs of children, families and young people are met.”

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board said, “A huge range of factors affect a pupil’s performance, attendance, exam results, health and job prospects but poverty is one of the most damaging.

“Children from low income families do worse in reading, writing and arithmetic than children from high income families. The gap in attainment starts to widen very early in their respective school careers. By the age of five, children from better off areas may be as much as 10-13 months ahead of their poorer classmates.

“Children from deprived households often leave school earlier with fewer qualifications. Low attainment at school can affect the choices open to school leavers and have lasting effect on their job prospects.

“Our Families First approach delivers a range of early intervention services to address these issues. A central part of the programme is joint working by education, health and social work professionals and these proposals represent an opportunity to strengthen those crucial ties.”

Families First, is Renfrewshire Council’s £7million flagship initiative to improve the lives of local children. Its aim is to target the factors which most impact on a child’s early development and break the cycle of deprivation by ensuring children get the best possible start in life.

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][/vc_column][/vc_row]