The Need for Family Hubs

Parents who are struggling with difficulties in their relationships, finances and other areas of family life will often not know where to find help, who they can turn to and how to stop problems from escalating. Family Hubs are flexible, attuned to local needs and able to connect families with the right help from the right people in the right way so that everyone thrives. They are a key element of integrated working which enables families with children aged 0-19 to access early help to overcome difficulties and build stronger relationships. Timely prevention reduces the need for crisis intervention by social care services. Across the country they are faced with high and rising numbers of children who are ‘in need’, on child protection plans, and coming into care.

Dr Samantha Callan’s presentation, ‘Solving Problems at Family and System Levels’ explains the need for and benefits of the Family Hubs model.

In addition, children from poorly functioning families often underachieve in school, have poor physical and mental health and are more likely to become caught up in drugs, gangs and other criminal activity. This makes it harder for them to gain satisfying employment, form healthy relationships and nurture their own children. Without the readily accessible family support Hubs can provide, along a spectrum of need and throughout the time children and young people are dependent on their parents (0-19), many will experience these and other poor outcomes linked to the breakdown of family relationships.

Couples in chronic conflict who do not receive timely and effective help will struggle to resolve difficulties and provide their children with the safe, stable and nurturing relationships they need to thrive. Even after separating, some couples may find it impossible to leave that conflict behind and co-parent well, in their children’s best interests, without the right support.

Families coping with disabilities are often unaware of the help that is available to them locally or how to access it.

A range of ‘whole-family’ support provided seamlessly through these centres avoids the ‘silo working’ that can mean families are bounced from one service to another and have to repeat their story again and again. This support is frequently co-located with superb universal and targeted early years services which ensure children have the best start in life. Coming into these Hubs raises new parents’ awareness of other support they might need whilst their children grow so they continue to flourish and fulfil their potential.

Claire Steen explains how the Family Hubs model extends the remit of Children’s Centre and integrates the services of partner organisations providing better family support (44 seconds).