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More money for therapy services to help children

Published on Thursday, December 21, 2017

LEICESTER City Council is set to invest more money in specialist therapy services for children, young people and families.


The aim is to prevent children from coming into care by providing intensive therapy to support the whole family. 


The city council’s children’s service already runs an intervention programme called multi-systemic therapy, or MST. It is targeted at children at risk of abuse or neglect, and has been successful in preventing children from being placed in care.


MST looks at everything that affects a child’s life – such as family, friends, schools and neighbourhoods. It helps children and families to manage difficult situations and deal with problems constructively.


The new plans will see the MST programme expanded, with a new team added, to help meet demand.


Another team will also be set up, initially for a two-year pilot period, providing a new form of therapy called functional family therapy (FFT), which helps young people to overcome behavioural and other problems.


Together, the expanded MST programme and the new FFT team will provide support for up to 100 families a year.


The specialist services will cost about £1m to set up, with the initial investment coming from the council’s budget. When fully operational, it’s estimated that they will save around £875,000 a year by preventing children from going into care.


Cllr Sarah Russell, deputy city mayor with responsibility for children, young people and schools, said: “Working intensively with families and providing therapy sessions to support them is a proven, effective way to help stop children from entering the care system.


“It also makes financial sense. Investing in these services will save the council money.


“This is good news, although not our primary concern in these cases. We always work to provide the best solution for each individual child.


“What these new services give us is another way in which we can engage with people, to help give some of our most vulnerable families the support they need.”