"Children and families deserve the best early help we can give them"
"I’m heartened at the good response to our consultation on improving early help services for children and families. We highly value your views and want to take the time to get this right for the people of Buckinghamshire.
Early help is about supporting children and families when things get tough to stop them spiralling out of control and then needing support from state services, like social care.
We know some families get support from a number of different professionals at the same time. No one wants to have to tell their difficult story more than once, so we want to join up services to make it much easier for families to get all the support they need across all of their issues, at the same time.
Some of our current early help services, like children’s centres, could do more to support our most vulnerable children and families as early as possible. Many of you are concerned about what will happen to them and the support that you access there. To be clear, many of the children’s centre sessions, such as health visitor clinics, post-natal and ante-natal support and parenting classes, will continue through our health partners and the proposed new Early Help service. In the future, they may be held in different locations and we are looking at how we can make the best use of other council and community locations if there are better places to reach children and families.
We know there are lots of groups that already take place in the community supporting and offering family activities. It doesn’t make sense for us to provide these sorts of activities when they are already available. I realise that having somewhere to go, something to do can provide a vital lifeline to parents. So I will be looking at how we can better support families to find these activities locally.
We have also been exploring options for how the centres could be used for other children’s services such as early years, school use or by voluntary or community organisations in the future. We want to maximise the use of these buildings for the benefit of local families and communities.
Most importantly however, bringing services for families like these together will enable us to go out into the community more to meet with the people who really need us.
We need to be confident our services are fit for the future and focus our support to the vulnerable to help those who need it the most. Whilst the idea of change is unsettling its crucial children and families have the best early help support and I’m confident we can improve how we do this together."
Cllr Warren Whyte, Cabinet Member for Children's Services