Posted on Tuesday 7th September 2021
Families needing help will benefit from a county wide support network under new proposals.
Staffordshire County Council intends building on its existing ‘early years’ delivery for children aged two and under to support families with children aged up to 18 years old – or to 25 in the case of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.
The ‘Family Hub’ network will build upon existing children’s centres and be based in the community to provide practical support.
Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: “In recent years this County Council has devoted a great deal of effort to providing help and support for families how and where they wanted it, rather than imposing a universal approach.
“The first five years of a child’s life particularly are very important and affect their health and education prospects.
“Most parents do a great job, but some families need a little help and we want to work with them and help them find their own solutions in their own communities.”
The proposals for the Family Hub will go out to consultation later this year.
A report to be considered by Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet next week says that the pandemic has increased awareness of how some disadvantaged and vulnerable families risk becoming further disconnected from society.
However, it adds that feedback from parents and children is clear that they don’t want to be taken into ‘the system’.
The proposals include joint working across different bodies, agencies and voluntary sector groups so that people only have to tell their story once, rather than repeatedly to different organisations.
Mark Sutton added:
“Supporting families isn’t about ‘doing things to them’, it’s about working with them to find their own solutions and ways forward so we can fade into the background.
“If we can help parents and their children build up strong relationships early, supported by their friends and families, it can make a huge difference in the years ahead – helping children reach their potential and reducing the council’s involvement in later years.”