Child-minding scheme to keep Leeds kids out of care

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An army of child-minders are being recruited by education chiefs as part of a pioneering project to prevent vulnerable children from being taken into care,

A child-minding scheme, which offers respite day care and occasional overnight support to families of children aged up to three-years-old, will be rolled out across Leeds following a successful pilot last year.

It will compliment a support care service that aims to keep children, who are on the fringes of being taken into the local authority’s care, with their families.

New figures reveal nearly half of children who are taken into the care of Leeds City Council were babies and young children aged up to four-years-old.

And around 140 babies were taken into care during this financial year.

The new proposed child minding service will offer 15 hour childcare per week for up to 30 children across the city in a bid to help improve the life chances of youngsters.

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member responsible for children and families said:“Reducing the number of children who need to be looked after by the local authority is one of our top priorities.

“In order to do this we have been looking at ways we can offer extra support to families where there are child protection concerns or the children are at risk of being taken in to care.

“We have been very pleased with the success of two such schemes and have decided to expand them.”

The authority will be looking to recruit an extra 45 support carers to support the scheme.

Coun Blake added: “Around 250 children will benefit from the expansion of our support care scheme which will see support carers providing day, evening and overnight care in the carer’s home to support children to continue to live safely with their families.”

Faye Clayton from Thorpe Primary School takes part in the 'I Am' arts project by creating her shoebox. Picture Scott Merrylees.

Leeds's Thorpe Primary School pupils explore identity through art