A total of £200m will be made available for local authorities and charities to test innovative ideas for children’s social care over the next four years, it has been announced. The money will be provided through the Department for Education's (DfE) Innovation Programme, initially announced by children’s minister Edward Timpson in October 2013, with £100m set aside for projects in the first two years.

It will also fund new projects, focused particularly in the two areas of rethinking children’s social care, and supporting the transition of adolescents through the social care system into adulthood. 

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said she wants charities and councils to "come forward with their most creative ideas to transform the lives of those most in need. Every single child deserves the chance to fulfil their potential regardless of their background. Yet it remains a stark fact that we don’t yet have excellent children’s social services everywhere. And when our most vulnerable children and families don’t receive the support they need, it can literally be a matter of life and death. Where there is failure, we can no longer sit by and watch. We know children flourish when they are supported by leaders who have been given the freedom to translate their expertise, passion and drive into providing life-changing support."

Projects funded through the programme so far have included the tri-borough councils of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster, which received £4m to “completely redesign” the delivery of children’s social care. Meanwhile, the Hackney-based Pause Project, which helps women who have had successive children taken into care was given £3m to expand the programme to other authorities.

Alongside the announcement of £200m for the Innovation Programme, Morgan has also called on cities across the country to take the power back from Whitehall through “devolution deals”, so they “have the freedom to deliver the kind of game-changing, innovative services that are right for vulnerable children and families in their area”.

The government said it now wants every single devolution deal expanded to include children’s services.

source cypnow 04.04.16