A consultation launched yesterday seeks feedback on four possible options for delivering services to local families.
Since the last reorganisation of children’s centres in 2011, there has been an increased focus on early help and intervention, whereby services are targeted at those families who need them the most.
The idea is to concentrate resources on the most vulnerable families, helping them to address the issues they face, giving them the best chance to thrive and fulfil their potential.
The four options outline who will be able to access services and what sort of support will be provided. All services will be delivered from the existing nine children’s centre hubs and the overall budget for them is not affected. The four possible models are:
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> Option 1 – existing model offering universal services to children aged 0-5 and their families
> Option 2 – offering services to children aged 0-3 and their families within areas with the highest need
> Option 3 – offering services to children aged 0-5 and their families within areas with the highest need
> Option 4 – offering universal services to children aged 0-3 and their families
Whichever model is selected universal services like weighing and baby clinics, breastfeeding support, two year-old checks, speech and language drop-ins and others will continue to be offered by all the hubs.
Cllr Mark Versallion, Executive Member for Children’s Services, said: “Since we last consulted the early-years landscape has significantly changed, not least with the increasing focus and importance of early help.
“The proposals reflect these changes and recognise the important role played by community and voluntary groups as well as the private sector in offering a wide range of services for local families.”
“We are looking forward to hearing what people have to say during the process as we work together to put in place a model which best meets the needs of families in Central Bedfordshire. ”
The consultation runs until Tuesday 19 August 2014, you can have your say online at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/consultations.
The feedback will be considered by the council’s Executive at their meeting on 23 September where a final decision will be made.