A fighting fund to reunite children in care with their parents is being launched in Gloucestershire.
The £650,000 project proposed by Gloucestershire County Council will be used to set up a specialist team which will work to ensure a quick return home for children and young people in care where possible.
It forms part of the council's overall budget proposals for 2014/15 and comes from a £4.2m pot of council tax money coming from the district and borough councils in Gloucestershire.
The authority says it plans to freeze council tax levels for the fourth year running.
Other one-off projects from the £4.2m pot include:
• A £500k pot of money to help develop the A417 loop plans, including things like completing studies or gaining match funding
• A £500k partnership flood alleviation fund to boost the county’s flood resilience and provide match funding opportunities with partners
• A £250k pot of funding to set up a Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) to improve safeguarding practices for those working with vulnerable children and adults
• £235k investment into improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The proposed overall budget is £428.11million – a £2.8million reduction on the 2013/14 budget.
Council tax precept levels for the county council will remain frozen for the fourth year in a row under the proposed budget.
The headline proposals for 2014/15 are:
• Adult services - £147.6million
(inc LD, older people, vulnerable adults)
• Children & Families – £94.8million
(inc schools, youth support, children’s centres, early years)
• Communities & Infrastructure - £86.2million
(inc highways, waste, trading standards, libraries, fire service)
• Public Health - £21.7million
Cllr Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “Despite the fact that we are tightening our belts and making savings wherever possible, we’re always keen to listen to what people tell us and where we can, we act on this feedback.
“As the district councils’ income is more than they originally estimated, we’ve been able to use this one-off extra money to focus on some of the things that people told us were important.
“We continue to work hard to meet our ongoing savings targets at the same time as protecting spending on services for the most vulnerable people in Gloucestershire.”
If cabinet agrees the final proposals at its meeting on February 5th, full council will then be asked to ratify the budget on 26th February 2014.