Agenda item

Place Based Approach to Early Help for Children and Families in Durham - Report and Presentation by Strategic Manager, Early Help and Think Family Services


The Panel received a report and presentation from the Operations Manager, One Point Service which provided an update on the place based approach to early help for children and families (for copy of report and presentation see file of minutes).


The Operations Manager explained the approach is underpinned by the national Supporting Families Programme, known in Durham as Stronger Families, which offers support to all children, young people and their families in County Durham, not only those who are looked after.  The Panel noted that Durham’s approach is a multi-agency approach, based on ‘whole’ family working which empowers families and builds resilience.



Describing the work, the Operations Manager commented that in 2020 local Early Help Conversations were developed in each team area, using local data to understand the geographical area.  The Panel heard how the new Team Around the Schools model recognises individual needs of schools and pupils within their communities.  Support is given at the earliest opportunity through Reducing Parental Conflict Working Groups and by helping families to tackle poverty, which can have a major impact on child development.  The Operations Manager also highlighted that prevention and early help forums were being re-established, following the pandemic. 


The Operations Manager spoke of the importance of engaging service users and taking their feedback into account.  In the future, work will continue with partners and service users to better understand the early help needs of families in order to influence service delivery.


Councillor Charlton referred to the Team Around the Schools model and asked if this was available to all schools.  The Operations Manager explained that this was a pilot project at Windlestone School and that a steering group had been established to identify and target priority areas, based upon national guidelines. It is hoped to extend the model across the county in the future.


Councillor Varty noted how unfortunate it was that so many children and their families needed this help, but commended the good work being done to provide help at the very earliest opportunity, in this unsettling time for many families.


Councillor Walton referred to the early help forums and asked how they are accessed.  The Operations Manager replied that three forums are held per year, to correspond with school terms.  Work is underway to update mailing lists to ensure partner representation is appropriate and that communities are well represented.




That the report be noted.

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