Innovation Exchange

Supporting Children and Families


Key activities

Benefits and impacts


Midlothian Council has reconfigured its existing children’s residential workforce to provide intensive supports to children and families where the child is at risk of being accommodated.  The service provides 24/7 community-based outreach support and interventions over a 12 week period to children, young people and their families. To date the service has enabled 82 children and young people to remain within their own families and communities, and with an average cost of £28,000 per year for a foster care place the savings are substantial.  This innovative approach linked with other improvements in Children’s Services has led to a 15% reduction in the council’s budget for external residential and educational placements.

Theme: Children and Education

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The key objective of this approach was two fold in that we wanted to prevent where possible, children and young people being accommodated by intensively supporting the family at the timeof crisis.  This said we also recognise that should the risks be so great that a child/young person does require to be accommodated that we would work with the family to try and rehabilitate a speedy return home.   This intensive and flexible approach builds on establishing  positive relationships which then allows for better and improved outcomes for families.

This project has reduced the number of children/young people needing to be accommodated and has ensured that they have remained within Midlothian and where possible within the own local communities.  The benefit of this ensures that the child/young person can continue to attend their local school and maintain contact with both friends and family thereby reducing the amount of change happening in their lives at a time of often great uncertainty and distress.

Providing a flexible approach requires negotiation with families and extended family to identify suitable alternative resources they have to help support each other through a time of crisis.  There needs to be a culture of trust and support  that allows staff to devise a plan that can be both creative yet meets the needs of the individual/ family at the time of their intervention, which is often in the evening or over a weekend period

By listening to families we have also learned that sometimes a lesser form of intervention is required to get them over a difficult time or until such times that they can access other resources.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:


Preventative Outreach Service

23 Lady Brae


EH23 4HT

0131 271 3882/3

Case study added to site: June 2016

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