The government has awarded up to £1 million to help disadvantaged children and families in Brighton and Hove.
The grant follows a successful bid for funding from Brighton and Hove City Council which is expected to receive some of the money upfront and some in “payment by results”.
The council said: “We’re one of only seven local authorities in the country to be given the money to develop ‘family hubs’ which will better integrate services for children of all ages and their families.
“The hubs will be where ‘families only have to tell their story once’, with different professionals working together to develop high-quality, joined up, whole family support services from conception to 19 – and 25 if the young person has special educational needs or a disability.
“Family Hubs have been successfully introduced in many areas across the country including Essex, Cambridgeshire and West Sussex, with more than 150 open across the UK.”
The funding award was announced on the day that an independent review of children’s social care was published.
The Department for Education said: “The government is setting out initial new measures in response to recommendations set out in Josh MacAlister’s independent review of children’s social care, which looked at how children and their families interact with the care system and how it can be improved.
“Families most at risk will be supported to stay safely together, with a focus on early help, preventing them from reaching crisis point.
“As part of this, the government has revealed plans to set up a new National Implementation Board of sector experts and people with experience of leading transformational change and the care system.
“It will also boost efforts to recruit more foster carers, increase support for social workers including on leadership, recruitment and retention, improve data sharing, and implement a new evidence-based framework for all the professionals working in children’s social care.
“Seven areas of England will also receive funding to set up family hubs which offer early help and intervention, in recognition of the importance of strong, joined up local services as a foundation for an improved social care system.
“Local authorities will also receive funding for schemes that support vulnerable children to remain engaged in their education and strengthen links between social care and education.”
Green councillor Hannah Clare, who chairs the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, said: “I’m delighted we have been successful in our bid to government.
“We will be using the grant to further boost and transform the services we provide for children and families.
“Brighton and Hove has many strengths when it comes to supporting children and families. However, too many families still face barriers and do not have equal and fair access to the same opportunities as others.
“The funding will help further our commitment to making Brighton and Hove a fairer city.”
The council had to submit a bid for the funding, with a total of 84 local authorities in the running.
The government announced yesterday (Monday 23 May) that seven authorities would receive money, with the prospect of funding awards to five more councils in the coming months.
In a letter to the council, a government official wrote: “Your vision shows a clear commitment to developing the local service offer in line with the family hubs model framework and we were very impressed with the quality of your bid.”
Councillors will discuss the findings of a review of “early help” and the new fairer Brighton and Hove strategy at a meeting of the Children, Young People and Skills Committee on Monday 13 June.
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