The House of Lords Public Services Committee’s inquiry into the role of public services in addressing children’s vulnerabilities is pressing the Department for Education, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health and Social Care to work with the Treasury to develop a joint bid for Family Hubs.
Baroness Hilary Armstrong the Committee’s chair says: ‘Family Hubs are the best available model to deliver the integration of agencies around the needs of vulnerable children and to support early intervention services. Family Hubs should be expanded by using existing community infrastructure such as children’s centres.’
Therefore, the Committee has identified the national roll-out of the Government’s Family Hub programme as the right focus for a multi-year funding allocation to tackle the drivers of child vulnerability. They emphasise that while responsibility for Family Hubs currently sits with DfE, the programme’s success will hinge on its ability to integrate health care and public health priorities with social services and the Supporting Families programme. The expansion of Family Hubs requires co-delivery by the three departments responsible for all of these – DfE, DHSC and MHCLG.
They also recommend involving the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Home Office to ensure the joint bid aligns with their work on child poverty (including the Reducing Parental Conflict programme) and child criminal exploitation.