Discussion on opportunity to help families earlier coming in the new year

Proposals for a new service for Buckinghamshire to support children and families earlier will be discussed at Cabinet in January.

This follows a public consultation through the summer and autumn where residents were asked to give their views on a proposal to bring all the services that support children and families with early help into one service.

The consultation which ran for three months, received over 2000 responses from residents, young people and organisations across Buckinghamshire.

Local people were asked to give their views and comment on a new service where children and families would have one family worker to help them tackle all of their problems together so they don’t get too difficult to manage, and they can cope better in the future.

Over 50% of residents and organisations agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal, and 30% disagreed. Overwhelmingly 85% of residents’ responses were from families with children, of which 50% of this group had children under the age of 5.

Top comments across both residents and organisations included making sure services for families are accessible and highlighted the need for early help services.

A summary of results can be found at www.buckscc.gov.uk/earlyhelp, with the full report detailed as an appendix to the Cabinet meeting on January 8, 2018.

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Warren Whyte is looking forward to discussing proposals for the future. “I’m really excited to have this opportunity to shift the emphasis from reactive services that intervene when things have become too difficult for families to manage, to preventative co-ordinated services that support families so they can cope with problems in the future. The key family worker role will be critical for this – working with families to tackle their problems in locations where they are most comfortable, and linking with partner organisations.

We’ve taken the time to listen to ensure we get this right for children and families in Buckinghamshire. We’ve heard how much local people value our current children’s centres. So, I’m particularly keen to hear the ideas some of our local communities and organisations are generating in order to support keeping these buildings open, whether for Early Years provision, other support for children, young people and families, or broader community use.”