A trial project to support at-risk children and families in Crewe has been found to be effective and is now being extended across the borough.
For two years, Catch22 and Cheshire East Council have delivered tailored interventions to help prevent children, young people and families from falling into the care or justice system.
Project Crewe aims to improve children’s outcomes and reduce repeat referrals to agencies, including social services and the probation service, by ensuring that families receive all the necessary support they need from relevant agencies and the voluntary sector.
Project Crewe began in March 2015, and is funded with a grant from the Department for Education. The project is to develop and test innovative approaches to assisting children in need, who require additional support for their health and well-being.
The work in Crewe has proved that early intervention – with the right support at the right time – helps to avoid more costly measures in the longer term. The scheme expanded to cover the whole borough, based in Macclesfield, from May this year.
Peer mentors, family practitioners and social workers have been involved in delivering the project and the Department for Education has now released its evaluation, which has shown that Project Crewe has ‘promising indications of impact’.
Families felt listened to and empowered by having the right support and direction to tackle their challenges.
Councillor George Hayes, cabinet member for children and families, said: “We believe that early intervention works and a core focus of our children’s services is to ensure our children and young people are safe from harm, supported into education and employment and are helped to avoid serious social and behavioural problems in the future.
“This tailored and holistic approach can set a new benchmark in the way we deliver intervention services in the future.”
Chris Wright, chief executive of Catch22, a non-for-profit social business, said: “The results from Project Crewe should mark a sea change in the way we approach and design social work interventions.
“The evaluation proves conclusively that it is the quality of the relationship that matters to a young person and not the title of the person who is dealing with their problems.”
Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, said: I am delighted that we have supported this project and look forward to continuing to hear about its great work in the future.”
Cheshire East Council is providing additional funding of £585,000 to extend the project until July 2018. It also broadened the geographical area to cover the whole of Cheshire East.
Cheshire East Council seeks to provide young people with the life skills and education they need to thrive, and will continue to invest in young people to secure their well-being and good health.