Report of the Acting Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services
Cabinet Member: Councillor Watson (in advisory role)
1. That the implementation of the MST-FIT model as part of the LAC Sufficiency Strategy to reduce the number and cost of children in care be approved.
2. That approval be given to progress with plans to set up the MST-FIT service and that the most appropriate method of financing be delegated to the Strategic Director of Finance and Customer Services once the grant award from the Life Chances Fund is confirmed and reported back to Cabinet.
Consideration was given to a report submitted by the Acting Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services which proposed the implementation of a Multi System Therapy – Family Integrated Transitions (MST-FIT) service model to address sufficiency for looked after children.
It was reported that MST-FIT made a positive case for a model of intervention where young people could learn to behave differently whilst their families learn and are supported to resume leading their case, with the service enabling residential care to be used as an intermediate step on the journey to parents fully caring for their children.
It was noted that the Life Chances Fund provided local authorities with support to explore opportunities provided by social impact bonds and outcome based commissioning. It was further reported that the Council had been awarded a grant in principle of £85k for a five year period, subject to a final project submission on 31st July 2018.
The project would close the gap in provision for existing children in care by providing a focused treatment programme with the aim of placing children back in a family environment. It was anticipated to complement the work of the Right Child Right Care Board and the suite of services which formed part of the Rotherham Edge of Care offer. Members noted that the total estimated cost of the MST-FIT service was £1.120m per annum, of which £570k was for residential provision in stage 1, which would be funded from the existing out of authority residential placement budget. The balance of £550k for the MST community team and programme management would be funded from gross savings achieved in-year. The exact amount that the Council would need to fund would depend on the financing option selected.
It was reported that the final project proposal to the Big Lottery Fund, who administer the Life Chances Fund Grant, was submitted on 15th June 2018 and a decision regarding the award would be made in early August. It was expected that the service would commence in January 2019.
It was noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board had reviewed the proposals at its meeting on 6th August 2018 and had taken the view that the recommended approach should be supported. Furthermore, Overview and Scrutiny Management Board had indicated a preference for Option 2 in the report (Delivery via an outcome based contract in partnership with a social investor and with funding support from the Life Chances Fund), although noted that the final decision on the finance method would be delegated to the Strategic Director of Finance and Customer Services.
Commissioner Kenny agreed:-
1. That the implementation of the Multi Systemic Therapy – Family Integrated Transitions model, as part of the Looked After Children Sufficiency Strategy to reduce the number and cost of children in care be approved.
2. That approval be given to progress with plans to set up the Multi Systemic Therapy – Family Integrated Transitions service.
3. That authority for determining the most appropriate method of financing be delegated to the Strategic Director of Finance and Customer Services following confirmation of the grant award from the Life Chance Fund and a further report to Cabinet.