0-19 years and children's centre services recommendations approved by Cabinet

22 September 2016

Following a robust public and stakeholder consultation, Cheshire West and Chester Council Cabinet last night (Wednesday) approved recommendations to re-configure children’s centres into a ‘main’ and ‘linked site’ model and commission an integrated 0-19 years single service.

Councillor Nicole Meardon, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “This approach will allow us to deliver an innovative and ambitious service for 0-19 year olds which I am confident will greatly improve outcomes for our children and families in West Cheshire.

“Our first priority in our Council Plan - Helping the Borough to Thrive - is to ensure our children, families and young people get the best start in life. This new integrated single service will be developed as a Starting Well Service and will allow us to deliver an inclusive service for 0-19 year olds.

“We will work flexibly with schools, health and early years education and childcare partnerships. Aligning health visiting, school nursing and children’s centre services will ensure a seamless transition between ages and stages of development. For example, children will be supported to help them develop well and be ready for school. This will lead to young people developing the right skills to access employment and further education in the future.” Councillor Margaret Parker, Shadow Cabinet Member for Children and Families, provided cross-party agreement by adding: “This is an excellent and ground-breaking approach that will ensure a more cohesive service for children and families. This will place West Cheshire at the forefront of innovation for children’s services.” Cuts to local government funding has meant that nationally, many children centres have been closed down or are under threat.

Councillor Nicole Meardon continued: “Children’s centres offer an important service for children under 5 years and their families. Cheshire West and Chester Council are committed to protecting these services and putting families at the very heart of our communities. The Starting Well Service will build on our current 0-5 offer to support the health and wellbeing needs of children aged 5-19 as part of a single service. We will be engaging children, young people and families in the design and development of the future service.

“By creating linked and main sites for our children’s centres we will be able to target services more effectively to appropriately support those in need. This approach will provide the Council with the best opportunity to ensure that these services are financially sustainable." 

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