Bradford Council plans to work with agencies across the District to extend ways in which it can provide Early Help for families who are in the greatest need of support.
Early Help is a way of giving families the support they need as quickly as possible when problems emerge. It means services working together to find solutions to small problems before they become big ones.
By taking this approach, the Council and its partners are able to:
• Provide the right help for those who need it most.
• Help families to help themselves where this is possible.
• Make sure limited resources are used in the best way possible.
The Early Help approach has already been developed for some services. The new proposals would look to extend this for a wider range of services for families and children and young people. This would include maternal health, parenting support, and early education take-up and ensuring young people have positive things to do. It would also look to tackle problem areas such as parental mental ill health, domestic violence and substance misuse
The proposals would look to bring different services closer together to improve information sharing and reduce duplication. This would provide clearer access to families most in need and would help them get more effective support. It would do this by:
• Improving how we deliver help so we can stop families getting stuck and help them make clear progress towards improved lives.
• Improving family support by making it clear what help is available.
• Making it easier for families to find services so they only have to tell their story once.
• Building on the Council’s Families First approach so we have one family, one plan and one key worker so we help families to receive the right support at the right time.
• Finding more ways to help families and communities help themselves.
The new model will look to deliver services more locally across a number of ‘clusters’. This is an approach that is already in place for some services such as children’s centres.
The Council plans to engage with families, partner organisations and staff over the summer about the best ways to deliver services before a more formal consultation on proposals takes place in the autumn.
Coun Val Slater, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “There are many families across our district who need help and support. Demand for this help is growing at a time when funding is reducing. This means we will need to do things differently in the future if we are to deliver the services that our communities need.
“These proposals will look at how all the agencies who deliver services can work together to provide better targeted help at the earliest opportunity when problems first emerge in a person’s life. This can offer better outcomes for children and families and can also help us avoid expensive care at a later stage. We want to talk to families and providers about the best ways we can deliver services.”