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22 January 2015, 12:23 | Updated: 22 January 2015, 12:31
Hertfordshire County Council has been given nearly £5million to improve and protect the lives of vulnerable children.
The money will fund a ground-breaking change in the way the council approaches child protection, such as freeing up social workers so they can spend more time with families, and working closely with partners to ensure vulnerable families get help when they need it.
The £4.86 million grant is the highest of any awarded to local authorities in the UK from the government's Children's Social Care Innovation Programme.
Cabinet Member for Children's Services Richard Roberts said: "We are planning a completely new way of working for social workers, which represents a great hope for the future.
"Our pioneering new approach will cut down on red tape and free up our social workers to spend more time with families. We will also be working closely with our partners to ensure vulnerable families get all the help they need, when they need it.
"This grant is the result of the hard work of staff and, crucially, our partners in health and the police and reflects the government's faith in our innovative plan to improve the health, education and wellbeing of more than 1,000 of our highest risk children and families.
"I am delighted that we have received this money to help us press ahead with our plans, which will give hundreds of children a better start in life. We hope it will become a model for other areas of the country to follow."
The grant will allow the council to extend the work of safeguarding teams across the county. The teams will now be joined by community psychiatric nurses and domestic abuse specialists, who will all be trained in new ways of supporting families.
The safeguarding teams will also work alongside schools, children's centres, health visitors, police officers and the voluntary sector to make sure children in Hertfordshire have the opportunity to live in a caring home where they can thrive and prosper.