Help us plan services for children and families for the future

Residents are being asked for views on a proposed new approach to supporting children and families with early help in a ten week consultation launched today.

Available online at until 22 September 2017, the consultation seeks feedback on a new way of supporting families earlier to prevent them needing help from social care services in the future.

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

Proposals for a new service outlined in the consultation focus on helping children and families, in a joined up way earlier, to ensure small problems don’t get bigger and too difficult to manage. From money worries, parenting tips, behavioural issues right through to support with mental health and domestic abuse, the proposal is to work with families to tackle all of their problems at the same time.

A new Early Help service would bring together all the services that currently support families in this way, to be one service with teams of family workers based in the local community. This will mean they can reach out to these families to work with them at home or in places they are most comfortable. This could be a local community venue or a coffee shop.

A number of County Council services already provide some form of early help. As a result of these proposals, some services could remain relatively unchanged and others could be delivered differently, to enable workers to focus on working with whole families, not individuals or single problems, and targeting those who need help the most.

Proposals for change follows a review of current services supporting children and families and best practice taking place across the country. This highlighted that support isn’t always reaching children and families who are most in need of our help, quickly enough or in the right ways. It also showed there are many families who get support from a number of organisations to help with problems they are facing as a family but this isn’t always joined up.

The consultation proposes a new model where families only have to tell their story once, have one person they work with and trust, and a service that reaches out to interact with families in the community.

Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services said: “Our aim is to make sure we provide the right early help services at the right time to the families that need them most. We know that some of our current services don’t always reach those families, and our public services don’t have the resources to continue to support services for all in the same way anymore. We want to join up services for families to make it much easier forresidents who need help to obtain it.This is your opportunity to have your say. We hope that as many as possible will respond to the consultation so we can help shape the very best services for children and their families for the future.”

The consultation runs from 14 July – 22 September 2017. It is available online at and residents can also complete it online in their local library.

For further information on Early Help, the Early Intervention Foundation website provides information and resources: