Headlines: January 24th, 2001

The bulk of money from the Children’s Fund is, as expected, to be targeted at areas of greatest deprivation.Forty areas across England will benefit from the first 380 million of a 450 million pound three year fund announced in the last spending review. Once again the aim is to encourage public and voluntary sector agencies to join-up to fill the gaps in current provision, this time with local councils taking the lead.

Chief Executives of the Local Authorities in each area are being invited to participate have been sent guidance outlining the first steps necessary to establish the Children’s Fund.

Each area will identify a strategic partnership that can plan and develop preventive services for children, young people and their families. The partnership will be required to listen to the needs of the local community and involve children and young people in the planning of services. The types of services that partnerships will be asked to develop may include peer mentors talking to young people at risk about crime, drugs or sexual health issues. The could also include parenting courses run by the voluntary sector, out of school activities for children at risk of offending, and befriending, counselling or advice services.

The amount of funding in each area will reflect not only the numbers of children in poverty in each area, but will also vary according to the content and quality of the proposals. A typical amount an average area could receive might be between 1.5 and 2 million pounds.