More integrated support for Warwickshire families is around the corner

Warwickshire families will soon be able to access a range of health and wellbeing support services from a new one stop shop model of 14 new Children and Family Centres.

The new centres will offer an integrated mix of services for families with children aged from 0-19 (25 for those with additional needs). Information and advice will be provided on a range of issues affecting families such as parenting, finance and relationships as well as health.

Earlier this year it was announced that from 1 September 2019, children’s charity Barnardo’s will take over the management and delivery of services at 13 of the county council’s 14 Children and Family Centres.

The exception will be St Michael’s Children and Family Centre in Bedworth which will continue as an independent provider delivering services to the whole of Bedworth and Bulkington.

The new integrated and flexible Children and Family Centre service, which also includes community outreach, will replace the existing services offered at children centres, which are currently for families with children aged 0 – 5 years. In order to evolve into this model, changes have been required in terms of partnership working and to make the necessary building and ICT adaptations needed.

Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children and Families, Councillor Jeff Morgan said:

“The centres will offer an integrated mix of services in the right place at the right time to help families be the best they can be. Information and advice on a range of issues affecting families such as parenting, finance and relationships as well as health services such as the Healthy Child Programme, school health and well-being service, the family nurse partnership, midwifery and health visiting will be available.

In addition to the 14 dedicated centres there will be a wide variety of pop-up support hubs and outreach activities in local communities. This model puts in place flexible, accessible, local services that will meet the needs of whole families now and into the future.

“Partnership working is key to the success of this service. Interim findings have suggested the flexible approach of outreach within the centres is providing families with a successful holistic package of support from professionals.”

Barnardo’s regional assistant director Sue Berry said:

“Having already transformed the lives of thousands of families since we first started managing several of Warwickshire’s children’s centres in 2014, we look forward to sharing our experience and expertise with even more communities in the years ahead.

“Working alongside the council and other partners, we will help to build stronger families and positive futures.”

Until the new contract takes effect in September, family services will continue to be offered in South Warwickshire by Stratford Parenting Project and in Stockingford by the Early Years Centre and Library. Barnardo’s is working in close collaboration with these providers to ensure seamless transition and minimal disruption to service users and staff.