Council plans consultation on improving services for children and families

  |  Published: Jul 10th 2017
Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children's Services
Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children's Services

Today, Cabinet agreed plans to consult with residents on a proposal for a new approach to Early Help services supporting children and families in Buckinghamshire, which will run over the summer.  

Redesigning services to support children and families in the early days when a problem begins is part of the Council’s drive to improve services so that families are getting the right support at the right time.

The sorts of problems a family might face and need help with range from parenting worries, behavioural issues with their children, money worries, relationship breakdowns and being out of work.  

There has been a steady increase in the number of children and families needing support from Council services in the last few years. This, along with less money in the public purse, means that the Council needs to look at how to deliver services better to help children and families who need it the most.

Currently most early help services focus on a particular age group or a single issue. Feedback from children and families, as well as local and national research, has consistently shown that this is not the best approach to improving the lives of our children and families and building their resilience for the future.

The proposal for a new service focuses on taking a whole family approach, dealing with all the issues they are facing and working together to find solutions. 

Changes proposed would involve bringing services together and a new focus on family workers who would be based in the community where families who most need this support live.

Supporting children and families better in this way will mean fewer families needing more intrusive and often unwelcome services in the future; in turn reducing the demand on more complex and costly children’s services.

Warren Whyte Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said, “We want to support children and families who are most in need of our help, quickly and in the right way.  We know this doesn’t always happen now and we want to change that.

"Many families tell us they want to have one person to talk to and help with all of their problems. This is our opportunity to get it right for families in Bucks, learn from national best practice and listen to what children and families are telling us.”

The consultation, outlining what early help is and the proposals for supporting families differently, will launch later this week.

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