A national centre championing the work of family hubs, and plans to support their growth in England, have been announced by the Government on the 19th May.

Speaking at an event organised by the Centre for Social Justice, education secretary Gavin Williamson said that the Anna Freud Centre for children and families will run the new centre for family hubs, to ‘spread best practice and evidence’ on integrated family service models. The service is expected to be ‘up and running shortly’, he said.

This March, Andrea Leadsom MP launched the Early Years Healthy Development Review, which sets out a new vision across the health system to ensure all babies and children can get the best start, and to reduce inequalities in the first 1,001 days of life.

‘Start for Life’ package
Ms Leadsom’s recommendations, which were put before Government on 26 March, include a new ‘Start for Life’ package for prospective parents offering support with health visiting, midwifery, breastfeeding and mental health. These services will be available to parents from family hubs, which are similar to Labour’s Sure Start centres. The hubs will also offer childcare, early education and healthcare, and advice on jobs and training.

This will be led by an ‘empowered, modern skilled’ Start for Life workforce, which will meet the changing needs of families with babies, looking at new ways to support and empower staff to increase retention of health visitors, Ms Leadsom said.

According to the Anna Freud Centre, The new National Centre for Family Hubs will provide:

  • A virtual learning network and resource library to collate and share up-to-date evidence of best practice on setting up and delivering family hubs across England.
  • Training and events to offer a series of national and regional events to support local family hub delivery sites in the setting up and delivery of their services.
  • Expert consultation to offer specialist support, via the Anna Freud Centre’s new SupportLine service, to providers who are interested in setting up or delivering a local family hub.

In his speech at the Centre for Social Justice event, Mr Williamson also gave an update on what the Department for Education and other Government departments are doing to help parents, support families and give children the best start in life. He announced that he was also pushing ahead with plans to support the growth of family hubs England’, with the £14m already invested.

Source Early Years Educator

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