Around £800,000 of social services reserves could be used for Caerphilly County Borough Council’s 2020-21 budget.
A council report reveals that the cost of placements for 2020-21 currently indicates a shortfall of around £800,000.
The draft proposals for the social services budget indicate that this £800,000 shortfall will be made up through reserves.
Reserves is money held back for specific projects or emergencies.
The council hopes that this one-off payment, coupled with cost-cutting initiatives already underway, will help to reduce costs in the medium to long-term.
The report says: “It is clear that the Directorate simply cannot go on with the approach that has served us well to date.
“Whilst we always strive to work more efficiently, the brunt of any further budget reductions would have to be borne by our public facing services.
“Consequently, staff have been looking at alternative ways in which we can meet our financial pressures moving forward.”
The council expects, in the medium to long term, cost pressures to ease following the implementation of a number of initiatives.
What are these initiatives?
- Ty Isaf, the second residential children’s home, is expected to be fully operational by summer 2020, offering four placements to children currently outside of Caerphilly.
- A third children’s home will be purchased and is expected to offer four placements at some point during 2020-21.
- My Support Team (MyST) is currently working with nine children in out of county residential care, with plans to step down to foster care or return them to their families.
- A specialist health visitor is being employed to support teams with pre-birth assessments to reduce the number of babies being removed from their parents and placed into care at birth.
- Using the integrated care fund, the intensive support team is expanding to include a full-time child psychologist, an education worker and a community connector to help support children to remain with their families wherever it is safe to do so.
- A family meeting service will be set up to support extended family members and help them to identify safe solutions to enable children to remain living within their family network.
- A recuritment drive is taking place for in-house foster carers, which is reducing the reliance on more expensive independent fostering agency placements.
The report will be considered by the council’s social services committee on Tuesday (December 3).