Welcome investment in Family Hubs, opening the door to wider implementation
In light of today’s Autumn Budget 2021 statement by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, the Anna Freud Centre welcomes the additional commitment of £500 million for family support, including £82 million to be given to 75 further local authorities to set up new Family Hubs.
The Anna Freud Centre leads The National Centre for Family Hubs, a new national initiative funded by the Department for Education, to help ensure all babies, children and families have the support they need through a network of Family Hubs across England. This new funding will ensure significant progress on the growth of Family Hubs within those local areas which are most in need at the present time, with implementation being supported by the National Centre for Family Hubs through a launch event to be held on Tuesday 2 November.
Family Hubs across England will aim to ensure that all families have access to the same high quality services and supportive relationships within their local area. Family Hubs will be designed to provide family help early, when it is needed – from pregnancy, through the child's youngest years and later childhood, and into adolescence until they reach the age of 24.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen a third of low income households unable to pay bills, while child poverty has risen sharply in poorer regions of England. Nearly seven in ten parents feel the changes brought about by the pandemic have affected their baby or young child, with these changes felt most sharply amongst those on low incomes. An estimated one in six children and young people have a mental health difficulty, which has risen from one in eight before the pandemic. Family Hubs will contribute to communities’ building back for all those who live within them.
The National Centre for Family Hubs is inviting everyone working with children and families in local authorities, health, education, and the voluntary and community sectors, to collaborate on this significant development, contributing to the vision for Family Hubs through sharing their own expertise and learnings. Decision-makers, practitioners and communities can join our learning network to hear the latest developments and share best practice on supporting children and their families.
On Tuesday 2 November, the Anna Freud Centre is hosting a free online ‘Implementing Family Hubs’ launch event to which all stakeholders are welcome. An implementation toolkit, which is a free resource for setting up Family Hubs within local areas, will be released at the event. The toolkit is based on what the research says works for families, and has been developed with the input of parents and others.
Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive at the Anna Freud Centre, says: “Family Hubs will make a positive difference to parents, carers and their children, by providing both a physical and virtual space in which they can easily access non-judgemental support for any challenges they may be facing. Family Hubs will provide an open door to families, offering a one-stop shop for accessing vital services.
“Without action, the pandemic could cast a long shadow on the lives of babies, children and young people. But persistent social and regional inequalities, and discrimination, often prevent children and families from accessing the help they need. Family Hubs will have a crucial role to play in making sure that services become more bound together, and many forms of help become accessible to families. This will empower them to fulfil their potential in supporting their children to fulfil theirs. We look forward to collaborating with colleagues who have a wealth of expertise and insight in this area, as well as with families themselves.”
Dr Jo Casebourne, Chief Executive at the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF), adds: “Family Hubs can play a vital role in helping children to grow and develop, and parents to feel confident and supported. They can improve the way that services are joined up and delivered in the community, and break down some of the barriers parents face in finding the help that they need. Today’s announcement is an important part of the puzzle of providing effective support to families facing challenges, whatever age their children might be. The National Centre for Family Hubs, supported by EIF as an evidence partner, will have an important role in helping local areas to use tested and effective approaches in their Family Hubs, so that they’re providing the best support possible to families.”