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75 local authorities set for Family Hubs

Seventy five local authorities have been announced as eligible to create Family Hubs in their area, giving parents advice on how to take care of their child and make sure they are safe and healthy.

Backed by £302 million of funding, the hubs will provide services including parenting and breastfeeding support. The government announced that £100 million of this funding will be shared among eligible areas to roll out bespoke parent-infant relationship and perinatal mental health support.

Furthermore, 300,000 of the most vulnerable families will receive help from a dedicated keyworker who will offer practical assistance, such as hands-on parenting support through the Supporting Families programme, backed by £700 million.

The government also revealed £172 million of funding to provide extra help for care leavers leaving the care system and making the transition to independence. The money will enable care leavers to access practical advice on housing, finance and employment.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “Evidence shows that some of the most disadvantaged families don’t access vital services. Family Hubs offer localised early help and intervention, from early years support to parenting classes, all of which can make a transformative difference in the lives of parents and carers who may not have a support network.

“We also have a responsibility to protect young people leaving care, to play our role fully as their corporate parent when their birth parents are unable. This funding will provide them with personal support and guidance as they embark on adult life and contribute fully to their own communities,” he added.

The Family Hubs and Start for Life programme is jointly overseen by the Department for Health and Social Care and the Department of Education. The £302 million for the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme includes:

  • £100 million for bespoke parent-infant relationship and perinatal mental health support,
  • £82 million to create a network of Family Hubs, improving access to a wide range of integrated support services for families with children aged 0-19,
  • £50 million to establish breastfeeding support services,
  • £50 million to fund evidence-based parenting programmes,
  • £10 million to support local authorities to publish a clear ‘Start for Life offer,’ and
  • A further £10 million to trial innovative start for life workforce models.

The package also includes £10 million to enable five local authorities to trial and evaluate innovative workforce models, investing in developing the modern, skilled workforce that we need to support babies and families.

Of the families who have been supported through the Supporting Families programme, young people are 38% less likely to end up in prison and 32% less likely to end up in care.

A further £3.2 million in 2022-23 will help councils to prevent care leavers from sleeping rough as part of the government’s manifesto commitment to eradicate rough sleeping by the end of parliament. Councils will be able to appoint specialist homelessness prevention advisers to provide intensive support to care leavers at highest risk of rough sleeping, as well as homeless prevention coordinators to improve the range and quality of accommodation options available to care leavers.

Over the next three years young people leaving social care will see several targeted support programmes including:

  • £99.8 million for Staying Put Funding for local authorities will help care leavers stay with their foster families after they turn 18, potentially through to their 21st birthday.

  • £36 million for the Staying Close programme to enable more care leavers to be supported to live near their former children’s home with support from a trusted adult.

  • £36.4 million for Personal Advisors to support care leavers up to age 25, helping them navigate services such as housing, health or benefits and providing practical or emotional support to help them prepare for the challenges of living independently.

Andrea King, Director of Clinical Division, Anna Freud Centre said: “We warmly welcome the additional investment from the Government into the continuing implementation of family hubs across England. It will provide much needed funds to support local children’s services leaders to collaborate and co-design support for some of our most vulnerable children and families, through the delivery of family hubs.

“By working within communities and alongside children’s services, family hubs are able to deliver early intervention and support services when the need arises. This funding will provide thousands of children and young people with more opportunity to fulfil their potential,” she concluded.

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