Agenda item

Early Intervention & Help

The Committee is asked to note the report.


4.1 Ann James, Director of Children’s Safeguarding and Care, presented this report. She explained that the report focused on areas of development, work that was underway and the impact of that work. An Early Help Sub Group had been formed and an Early Help Strategy was being developed. There had also been efforts to rebrand the approach to circumstances of parental conflict to focus on the strengths of child-parent relationships. The officer explained that the majority of families involved in social work were experiencing violence or had experienced violence so it was important to intervene early and build family cohesion. There was also a better than target proportion of people being referred to social work services after having been supported by early help, indicating that these interventions were being successful.

4.2 A member asked how adverse childhood experiences were being targeted within this strategy. The officer explained that childhood trauma can take many different forms and that the approach used was to bring together a trauma informed relational approach with a systemic approach. It was important to raise awareness across all services within Children’s Services and ensuring that the earliest interventions are equipped to respond appropriately to cases of trauma and to help children heal beyond their trauma.

4.3 A member asked whether this support would be universal or targeted and how it fit in with the work of other services such as Home Start that provided home visits. The officer explained that the Council’s Early Help service offerings were targeted, but that Early Help co-ordinators were working within the community network and universal services such as schools to build capacity within universal services. Funding for the Supporting Families Programme was delivered by hitting targeted needs criteria and outcomes. Chris Spencer, Director of Children’s Services, added that there were efforts to look at making contracts in a way that could capitalise on the voluntary sector such as organisations like Home Start to support Early Help.

4.4 There was also discussion over how the Family Hubs model would provide universal initial access with targeted support afterwards and that the decision around Family Hubs had been delayed. This was so that Family Hubs were set up in the best way possible.

4.5 In response to more questions about Family Hubs and performance, it was explained that the current performance beyond targets was confirmed by the Officer for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED). It was also explained that Family Hub success was be measured in comparison to current performance.

4.6 It was suggested that it would be beneficial to come back to Committee with a review of Family Hub development once it had been put in place.

ACTION – DSU to add a Family Hub Review to the long-term work plan.

4.7 A member asked for clarification around payment by results. The officer explained that those were dependent on KPIs (key performance indicators) such as school attendance, reduced worklessness, reduced drug and alcohol use and reduced domestic abuse.

4.8 It was also questioned how many of the service providers had themselves been benefitted from Children’s Services themselves. The officer said that they were unsure, but it would be worth exploring and providing that information to scrutiny. The officer also explained that she was keen for parents who have had children supported by Children’s Services to get involved in training and becoming practitioners.

ACTION – Ann James to come back to Committee with data of staff members/community practitioners who had been supported by Children’s Services or were from the community they were supporting.


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