Families First: A Strategy for Family Support in Leicestershire
In line with most other Local Authorities, Leicestershire Children and Young People’s Service, together with its partners (listed in the attached document) has developed a strategy to help coordinate and develop the way we offer support to families, and what support we offer.
Our families are probably the single most important factor in our lives, and our experience of being parented can have a profound and lasting impact. So getting the right support to families when they need it is really crucial. This doesn’t just mean around managing behaviour, but in a really wide range of areas covering everything from parents getting involved and supporting their child’s education, through to spending time together and enjoying being part of a family, valuing the opportunities for play and fun.
In recent years there has been a huge amount of attention on parenting – both from central government and from the media, with popular television programmes appearing which look at parenting and managing children’s behaviour. Sometimes, with the amount of information that there seems to be out there, it can be confusing to know which way to turn.
Research carried out at a national level tells us that around 70% of parents say that at some point they would have liked some help with their parenting. Over the years our lifestyles have been changing, often meaning that more mothers are working, there are more lone parent families, families are less likely to live nearby extended family such as grandparents, and for these and other reasons the lives and experiences of families are also changing. Whilst being a parent or carer can be one of the most enjoyable experiences of our lives, it can also at times be one of the most challenging experiences, and we recognise that at times, all parents will probably struggle a bit. However, we also know that the vast majority of parents do a terrific job overall, and will manage to get by with the support of family and friends, and local services such as schools, GPs, etc.
Our strategy for looking at family support tries to identify the different levels, or tiers, of need that families might sometimes experience. Our aim is to make sure that there are appropriate services available at each of these levels of need. Our statistics show us that the greatest number of families, about 66%, will fall into what we call a ‘universal’ level. This means that families are able to get by with support from services that everyone can access – such as schools, Children’s Centres, GPs, Health Visiting Services, and so on. We then estimate that about another 30% of families might need a bit of extra support, perhaps from one or two other services, with the final 4% needing more specialist support, possibly from a range of different services.
We have a number of challenges to address over the coming years, but one of our priorities is around information. We have two aims:
- To make sure families know where they can go for information, advice and guidance
- To make sure the Children’s work force also know where families can receive additional help when its needed.
One of the first things we are doing is developing the Family Information Service. This service provides free and impartial information and guidance to families on a huge range of subjects – to find out more please contact the Family Information Service on 0116 3056545.
The Family Support Strategy also looks at how we might do more to ensure that families have a say in the services they use and in the areas that they live in. Over the next 12 months we will be trying a range of different ways to make sure that families have the chance to influence and inform services, so that we can be sure that what is being provided is really meeting the needs of local communities.
Family Support Strategy (PDF, 116kb)
Page Last Updated: 8 July 2008