A CHILDREN's home in Bromsgrove, which cares for youngsters with complex social and emotional difficulties, could close under new council plans to improve services and cut costs.

Worcestershire County Council's cabinet will be asked on Thursday to support the development of an 'Edge of Care Outreach Service' to support families to stay together and reduce the number of children in care.

The service reform would see Worcestershire's six homes for children with social and emotional difficulties reduced to two - with the money saved going towards improving early help and support services.

Two homes in Tenbury and Malvern have already closed, or are facing closure, which leaves Rivendell in Bromsgrove, Oak House in Worcester, The Riddings in Bricklehampton and Orchardene in Pershore at risk of closure.

The rationale behind closing two of these homes is that improved outreach and support services would mean the provision would no longer be needed.

A report on the review reads: "This review is designed to meet the needs of children in need of safeguarding in the most appropriate way to support positive long-term outcomes for them as well as reviewing financial viability."

It goes on to say that many of the young people currently accommodated by council-run homes 'cannot safely be supported' due to high demand, and that young people 'will almost always have better life chances if they are enabled to remain within their families, rather than entering the care system'.

The new Edge of Care Outreach Service would involve three teams of multi-disciplinary staff, including social workers and family support workers, and is expected to cost approximately £1.9m a year.

The homes recommended for closure would impact 19 children.

According to the council report, any decision on which two to retain will be based on the needs of the children currently living in the homes in order to minimise impact on their care plans. It also says 'every effort' will be made to minimise compulsory staff redundancies at the homes.