AN ENHANCED support service which will provide vulnerable young people with accommodation and help towards becoming independent has been approved by Torfaen council.

The support service pathway will be open to young people aged 16 to 21 who are known to social services and being supported by the council, including those in care and leaving care.

Following a successful pilot, the service will provide enhanced support for young people being supported in accommodation in Torfaen.

Figures show the number of children in care in Torfaen has increased by nearly 50 per cent since 2013, from 300 to 446 in 2021.

The council has run a pilot scheme to enhance the support it provides to young people accommodated in a four-bedroom home to meet the increasing demand.

A council report says the programme provides a more personalised approach to care and support, with a focus on long-term independence as well.

Torfaen council’s cabinet approved awarding a five-year contract to provide the service at a meeting on Tuesday.

Cllr Fiona Cross said the service would support young people to receive care in Torfaen which would lead to “far better outcomes for them”.

“Keeping them close to their familiar area as well as friends and support gives much better outcomes overall,” she said.

“Crucially as well for us as a service it means they are close to us.

“We know what services we have in our own borough and we know our children, so we can be more bespoke to them.”

The service will support young people to access accommodation, while encouraging independence to avoid long-term reliance on services.

It will provide a ‘pathway’ to help young people develop skills and qualifications, alongside accessing employment opportunities.

Cllr David Daniels also spoke in support of the scheme, saying it would give potentially vulnerable young people “a better start in life”.

Cllr Daniels also said he supported the council’s approach in prioritising “quality over price” in providing the service.

Council leader, Cllr Anthony Hunt, said the service would improve outcomes and reduce out-of-county placement costs.

He added: “It’s an incredibly important service both for the individuals who receive it and also for the community as a whole, because if those individuals didn’t receive support there would be an impact on the community more widely.”