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Drive to protect vulnerable East Lancashire youngsters
4:00pm Tuesday 31st December 2013 in News
AN early intervention team is set to be launched in East Lancashire as part of a £6million drive to protect vulnerable youngsters after a surge in abuse referrals.
Nearly 30 social workers, with the support of Lancashire Police, will work as part of pilot projects in Burnley and Preston, in a bid to safeguard young victims of family break-ups, steer would-be young offenders away from criminality and prevent children running away from home.
Child social care referrals in Lancashire have soared by almost 50 per cent in under two years, from 1,175 to 1,760 per month.
And the main cause of the surge involves ‘at-risk’ youngsters and domestic abuse incidents, county councillors have been told.
The last 18 months alone has seen the number of ‘child in need’ designations rocket by 98 per cent in Burnley and 95 per cent in Preston.
Proposals are now set to be approved to recruit a task force designed to head off such issues at the earliest possible stage.
The authority already has an emergency duty team which works with police, who estimate that they deal with 4,060 incidents per month which could be classed as requiring ‘early action’ to prevent harm to young people, vulnerable adults and people with mental health problems.
County councillors will now be asked to redirect £3million from a strategic reserve fund, intended for 47 extra police community support officers, to fund the work, which will concentrate initially on Burnley and Preston, and a third Lancashire borough.
Louise Taylor, interim executive director for children and young people, said: “It is felt that the monies originally allocated for additional PCSOs could show a much greater impact if they were used to develop a targeted Early Action Response offer in key geographical locations.”
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