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Sutton works with London boroughs to support vulnerable young people

Vulnerable young people in Sutton will now be able to access therapy  programmes that can help them stay out of care and remain in their own families, thanks to a unique collaboration between Sutton Council, other London boroughs, voluntary and community groups and health organisations.

This pioneering initiative, the first  of its type in London, is a joint programme  by the five London Borough Councils of Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Bexley, Merton and Newham, with support from the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery funding.

Positive Families Partnership will work with over 350 young people involved in serious anti-social behaviour and/or substance misuse, who have been identified as being at risk of going into care. These vulnerable young people and their families will be offered access to therapeutic programmes designed to help address the young person’s behavioural issues and improve how the family functions.

The initiative will utilise three specialist delivery partners, who collectively bring over 25 years’ experience of implementing similar  programmes across the UK: Family Psychology Mutual, Family Action UK, and the South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.

Positive Families Partnership will be set clear outcomes and will be paid only if it succeeds in meeting certain milestones related to keeping the young person with their family and out of care.

Positive Families Partnership will benefit from management support from Social Finance UK and Bridges Fund Management, with the latter also providing over £5m of funding to cover the upfront costs of the programme.

The programme will be managed by Sutton Council, and operate initially in the five London boroughs. If successful, the partners hope to scale up their innovative work by rolling it out to other boroughs over time.

Brigitte Squire, Programme Manager of Positive Families Partnership, said: “All of us believe these therapies are the best way of keeping these vulnerable young people with their families and out of care. This pioneering new contract allows us to bring together three of the best delivery partners in the sector and provide a real solution to a pressing social challenge at scale. We look forward to proving the model in the coming years.”

Cllr Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council, said: “Finding better solutions for these young people has become one of our biggest challenges. So we’re really proud that we have been able to join forces with our colleagues in  such an innovative project. We believe it has real potential to show that when commissioning children’s services, innovation and collaboration can help find  new solutions to some of our most difficult social challenges.”