Coventry families are set to benefit from a ‘Lifelong Links’ programme following the DfE’s announcement of £36m for projects across the UK that help improve the lives of vulnerable children.
Cllr Ed Ruane, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “I’m thrilled that Coventry will be part of the Lifelong Links trial. I believe that the project will change the lives of the children in our care by pulling together everyone that supports them so we can build personalised, effective plans for them and impact their outcomes for the better.
“The programme will be a great addition to the work we already do with our children, to ensure that we deliver the best care possible for every single child.”
Lifelong Links, run by the Family Rights Group, brings together as many people as possible who care about a child in a meeting called a family group conference. Coventry will be one of seven local authorities from across the country to trial the approach.
The aim of this is to help build a lasting support plan with the child, from helping them with their homework to taking them to a regular after-school club. Everyone will be able to offer something slightly different, and evidence suggests that this structured approach results in better placement stability and wellbeing for children in care.
Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group, said: “We are thrilled that the Innovation Programme has funded us to work with 7 local authorities to trial a transformative approach to creating life-long support networks for children and young people in care.
“Lifelong Links involves professionals using a variety of innovative ways of searching for and connecting with family members and other adults who care about the child. This network is then convened through a family group conference to make a lasting support plan with, and for, the young person. By starting early in a young person’s care journey, Lifelong Links aims to ensure those social networks can be available for them in care, providing stability to their care experience and support through the transition into independent living and beyond.”
Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families, Edward Timpson, said: “Childhood should be a happy and safe time in all our lives. We must do all we can to make sure this is the reality for every child.
“By harnessing the passion and expertise of those who care for children, we can provide them with life-changing support. By giving professionals the freedom to develop new and innovative ways of working, these fantastic projects will help make a real difference to children’s lives. I look forward to seeing them deliver great results in the future.”