Without long-term funding from Government, the Supporting Families programme will not have the clout to enable local services to step in when things go wrong – helping children, parents and carers keep their lives on track.
Over the coming year, policymakers say they want to work with the different people and organisations who provide support to children and families, to understand the existing and unfolding challenges they face. Following this, there is no excuse for short-term fixes. The Government must make a lasting commitment to families and children as part of a wider cross-government strategy to nurture better childhoods.
Today’s announcement confirms the importance of locally determined services, that can cooperate closely to respond to localy identified needs. Better data-sharing will smooth these working relationships while also establishing a synergy between services.
But it’s also important that families know where to get help, so we would like to see co-located services - whether they are children’s centres, family hubs or schools - that can help worried parents cut-through and connect with the right help, at the right time.
The programme promises £165m of new funding over the coming year. But it must be recognised that children’s services have been cut to the bone over the last decade, often leaving them capable of providing ‘crisis-only’ help. The Supporting Families programme has voiced its commitment to earlier intervention - true early help - we must now see that through, ensuring that adequate funding follows the vision.