Early Help Service: Have your say on support for families in West Sussex

A consultation on proposed changes to our Early Help Service is now open for people to take part

Our Early Help service is an important part of our work to support vulnerable children and families in West Sussex.

Early Help staff work with children and families who are facing any number of challenging circumstances and help ensure every child has a safe environment in which to thrive.

West Sussex County Council is proposing a series of changes to the Early Help service to improve how we deliver the right support at the right time in the right way.

We welcome feedback and comment on the proposals to help shape the redesign to the Early Help Service.

A ten-week consultation opened today (Monday, 8 March). You can read details and watch videos explaining the proposals, and take part on our Early Help Service Consultation Page.

Briefing events are being held online throughout March and April, which are open to everyone, giving an opportunity to hear directly from senior staff.

Demand on our Early Help Service is increasing and the proposals are aimed at enhancing the support we can give to vulnerable children and families. The changes would also enable staff to work more closely with schools.

Traditionally some of our Early Help Services have been delivered from a number of buildings, but a review has shown that most people who need our services the most do not access them here. We have also seen that during the pandemic, when these centres have been mostly closed, our staff have found new ways of reaching out to families who need our help.

The proposals therefore include moving Early Help staff out of 32 of the current 43 Children & Family Centres. We would also merge our 12 Find it Out centres with the remaining 11 Children & Family Centres, maintaining a youth drop-in service at each.

Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “The Early Help Service is an important part of our work to support children and families. So it is really important that we hear a wide range of views through the consultation and I strongly encourage as many people as possible to take part.

‘We are committed to putting children and young people at the heart of everything we do. These proposals aim to enhance our Early Help service, targeting it where it is needed the most, reaching those families who are experiencing particularly difficult situations.’

The consultation runs until midnight on Monday, 17 May 2021 and people can find out more information and take part on our Consultation Page: https://yourvoice.westsussex.gov.uk/early-help-redesign

If you are unable to access the consultation online please contact 01243 777807 and we will be happy to send you a paper copy to complete.
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