Children’s Commissioner proposes family hubs

Family|October 31st 2016

Children’s centres should be replaced by ‘family hubs’ the Children’s Commissioner for England has proposed.

Council-funded children’s centres provide a venue for the parents of children aged four and under to access advice and support, enjoy play sessions with the kids and meet other families. Their future is in doubt, however, with a delayed government review due to begin shortly.

Rather than focusing entirely on  children’s welfare, so-called family hubs would provide a conduit for social services aimed at entire families, the Children’s Commissioner explains.

In a new report, she suggests:

“The government has yet to make an announcement on the future direction of children’s centres, which, if developed along the right lines, have the potential to champion a new approach to supporting children in need with a strengthened focus on the whole family.”

According to the report, hubs could help to help to funnel valuable assistance towards families who have difficulties but whose situation may not yet have deteriorated to the point where intervention by social workers is required.

“Family hubs would co-ordinate statutory and voluntary approaches to tackling the root causes of intergenerational poverty, family breakdown, and poor outcomes for children. They have social mobility and family stability at their core.”

Read the report here.

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  1. Nick Langford says:

    Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social justice proposed the use of Family Services Hubs way back in 2007, based on the Australian model. Their proposal was detailed and fully costed. Mishcon da Reya repeated the idea in 2009 as “Conflict Clinics”. The idea seems to have been mooted first in 2005 by Fathers4Justice (before they lost the plot) in their Blueprint for Family Law in the 21st Century. In 2014 Samantha Callan wrote that family hubs would-

    “co-locate and coordinate all family services available within a community and provide a visible and welcoming access point for any parent to appropriate support, services or information about family-related matters. Hubs should also coordinate statutory, voluntary and other sectors’ efforts to address the root causes of family breakdown and poor child outcomes.”

    They are a brilliant idea, supported by just about everyone with any opinion on family justice, and for the CSJ they formed part of its philosophy that every family matters, not just every child. If only they could become a reality.

  2. JamesB says:

    I agree with Nick and the Australians on this probably the Commissioner also although I haven’t had the time to read the proposal in full. More men involved, less comments like one I got when watching my youngest daughter (5) do ballet recently “shouldn’t you be somewhere else watching football or something”.

  3. Yvie says:

    I wish there were council funded centres available to parents in the process of divorce, where help could be obtained regarding all aspects of family breakdown including advice regarding solicitors and probable costs, mediation, contact arrangements for children, and csa responsibilities etc.

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