Millions to help troubled youngsters
MORE than £3million is to be ploughed into saving Suffolk's most troubled youngsters, it emerged today.The cash will splashed over the next three years into a new behaviour support service for the county.
MORE than £3million is to be ploughed into saving Suffolk's most troubled youngsters, it emerged today.
The cash will splashed over the next three years into a new behaviour support service for the county.
And more money will follow the initial investment to keep the project up and running.
Council chiefs believe the service will help cut youth crime and reduce anti-social behaviour by tackling problems before they happen.
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Tony Lewis, county portfolio holder for children and young people, said he was confident the council's executive would give the green light to the funding on Tuesday.
He said: "I can't wait until the council makes the decision.
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"I am particularly pleased that in a year when we had to make difficult decisions to keep tax low, councillors also recognise the high importance of helping young people in difficult circumstances.
"It is also pleasing that schools who have challenging circumstances over their budgets are prepared to put money in as well.
"By having joined-up services in other parts of the country they have cut exclusion rates. It has also had an effect on young offenders and anti-social behaviour."
The behaviour support service will see new pupil referral units built around the county. One has just opened in Ipswich and another will follow soon.
Council coffers will provide about £1.5million over the next three years, with schools coughing up £500,000 a year plus an initial investment of £300,000.
Referral units already in existence target youngsters between 14 and 16, but the new centres will provide help for pupils at any school age.
Mr Lewis thinks tackling problems early and a greater link-up with health and social services will be key weapons in fighting youth exclusion.
The new units will also play a much greater role in advising schools how to tackle problems before they get out of control.
Mr Lewis said: "At the moment we are dealing with behavioural issues on a basis of individual initiatives.
"This is mainly an education-based service, but it will provide support to schools as well as students and parents."
The pupil referral units will provide an alternative to school for troubled youngsters struggling to fit into the system.
But it is hoped the new scheme will see more students returned to the mainstream classroom and cut permanent exclusions.