Jobs under threat in family services

St Helens Star: Jobs under threat in family services Jobs under threat in family services

TWENTY council jobs are at risk as part of a plan to restructure a team that looks after the welfare of vulnerable children and families.

Changes will also be made at Children’s Centres, with a strong focus placed on helping youngsters with speech, language development and social skills.

Andy Dempsey, the council’s director of children’s and young people’s services, outlined proposals to alter the Early Intervention Service.

He suggested the restructure would enable them to deal with issues on a more personal level.

Speaking at a meeting of the Children and Young People’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Panel he said there are two key themes.

One is a more “targeted approach” focusing on families where the children are not prepared fully for school life and improving their general health.

The other is a support system providing practical support for vulnerable families.

Under the proposals staff will focus on child routines and parenting skills.

He told members of the committee: “No children’s centres will close. But they will be organised in a different way to enable community groups to be able to use them.”

However with the restructuring comes a risk to jobs.

He said: “We want to preserve the frontline service. Out of 100 people there are no more than 15 to 20 at risk.”

Overall he stressed that the aim is to improve the welfare of the children: “This is about individual workers working with five to 10 families spending five to six hours each week sometimes before and after school and at the weekend.

“Some parents want to do the right thing but don’t have the skills. You will have a set of teams led by social workers providing practical family support.”


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