Newport City Council has said it’s committed to keeping children who need residential care in the local authority area.
Sally Jenkins, Head of Children and Family Services at the council, confirmed that the amount of children moving out of Newport for care is decreasing as a result of Project Perthyn.
Perthyn means ‘belong’ or ‘relate’ in Welsh and the project focuses on returning children who have been placed in out-of-authority placements to their home city.
The council said children placed in these homes are some of the most vulnerable, therefore creating a family environment in the residential homes is an integral part of Project Perthyn.
In a Performance Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday September 21, Councillor Paul Cockerham said: “After 30 years on the local authority, it is one of the most rewarding things I have been involved in. There’s no doubt about it, we are leading the way in Wales.”
As part of the project, the council is opening three new children’s homes by the end of 2022, this includes Rosedale home which opened in March this year.
There are no offices or locked doors within the new homes and the people working there are not referred to as staff. These initiatives aim to create a friendly and homely atmosphere for the children.
A young person living at Rosedale said: “I recently moved into Rosedale after being away from Newport, when I found out I was moving back to Newport I was quite happy but nervous at the same time.
“I love living in Rosedale because I am closer to my family and really close to my school so I do not have to travel an hour a day.
“I feel really settled and comfortable living here and I am really close with the staff, I feel like I can speak to them about anything, also this house is probably the best placement I’ve lived in because it is closer to my family.”
Project Perthyn includes a focus on language used when talking about children’s residential homes.
Cllr Cockerham said: “It is not just about bringing the children home, it is about the language we use. These are their homes, these children are coming there to be loved and cwtched.”
Cambridge House children’s home was closed by the council in May 2021 because it no longer met the quality of care expected by the council.
The council has said smaller buildings work better to create the family environment that Project Perthyn aims for.