The Family Hubs Network warmly welcomes Children’s Minister Vicky Ford’s announcement on 8 December, at the Early Intervention Foundation’s National Conference, of her plans to create a National Centre for Family Hubs that will improve families’ access to vital services across the country by supporting areas and councils to set up new Family Hubs (see additional coverage here and here).
This recognises the need to improve the long-term support for vulnerable families, and builds on the Government’s manifesto commitment to champion these hubs and better serve vulnerable families with integrated health and education services. The new centre will draw on existing good practice among councils, where hubs often operate an ‘open door’ approach and families can be referred for extra help by a range of professional services, including midwives, health visitors, GPs, schools or social services.
The National Centre will also work closely with those delivering the evaluation innovation fund she also announced. They will work alongside family hubs to design and deliver robust evaluations of their effectiveness and value for money. This will help national and local organisations understand which models work most effectively and can be replicated, as well as the best way to integrate a range of family services.
Children’s Minister Vicky Ford said:
This pandemic has caused unparalleled challenges for us as a country, but it has been particularly difficult for many vulnerable families who need the most support.
She emphasised ‘looking at our vision for the future by improving the resources that already exist. We promised to champion family hubs and the plans set out today will help make sure even more families and children can access the early health and education services we know can have a lifelong impact.’