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BLAENAU GWENT: Children’s Care Team

BLAENAU GWENT: Children’s Care Team

Myst My Support Team Logo

CREATING a new care team will bring children in residential care outside of Blaenau Gwent back home and save £416,000 a year.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Executive committee on Wednesday, November 10, councillors were told of the need to create a MyST (My Support Team) specifically for the county borough.

Up to now the MyST team has been jointly run with Monmouthshire Council but the collaboration is coming to an end.

Monmouthshire has already formed its own MyST team.

The council’s director of social services Damien McCann explained what he called an “invest to save proposal.”

Mr McCann said:  “The report proposes a business case to develop a Blaenau Gwent standalone, My Support Team or MyST for short.

“This provides a multidisciplinary intensive therapeutic fostering service.

“The team work intensively with children currently in residential care with the aim of bringing them back to live closer to Blaenau Gwent and be placed with foster carers or family members.

“The team also worked with those children in care  with complex needs and are at risk of going into residential care to try and prevent this from happening.”

At the moment the county borough pays £240,000 into the joint team.

Mr McCann told the committee that the cost of running the team would be just over £503,000 a year,  and an extra £263,000 would be needed

Mr McCann pointed out that the MyST had been “instrumental” in bringing the children’s residential down from an overspending of £478,000 in 2018/19 to a surplus of £661,000 in 2020/21.

With residential placements costing £4,000 a week per child – preventing children going into residential homes would provide a saving for the council.

He believed that if the team could bring two children a year back from residential care over the next three years and this would save the authority £416,000 a year.

Social Services portfolio holder, Cllr John Mason said: “The development of an independent Blaenau Gwent MyST team will have far reaching benefits for some of our most vulnerable children and families during times of greatest need.

“The aim of bringing our children in residential back into Blaenau Gwent with carers and family’s members, places our social services  right at the heart of our local communities.”

“I am confident that the development of an independent team will have far reaching benefits for some of our most vulnerable children and families.

He thanked all those who had been involved in the “successful” joint team with Monmouthshire.

Councillors voted unanimously to support developing the new MyST team.

Words: Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

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