New Minister for Children and Families, David Johnston OBE MP speaking at Family Hubs Network’s Conservative Party Conference 2023 Fringe

Posted 28th September 2023

David Johnston, Minister for Children and Families, is joining the panel at FHN’s Conservative Party Conference fringe event on Monday 2nd October

‘Joining the dots to strengthen families in tough times’ will make the case for further development of Family Hubs models to help families coping with difficulties including the long-term impact of the pandemic and higher cost of living. 

Through joining up council services with charities, businesses and support from central government, Family Hubs will help save NHS money, get children back to school and tackle the mental health crisis in young people. 

Our panel of speakers brings together a wide range of experience and expertise.

Dr Mike McKean (Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health) will talk about the benefits to families of delivering children’s health services in Family Hubs, as they do in many parts of Essex.

Nav Mirza (Dad’s Unlimited) is a voluntary sector CEO working with fathers in Family Hubs in Kent, one of the LAs which is part of the large Government Transformation Fund. 

Lord Farmer is co-founder of Family Hubs Network and a Conservative peer. 

Catherine Barker is Head of development at Family Hubs Network, and has extensive knowledge about the implementation and impact of Family Hubs nationwide.

Family Hubs were in the 2019 manifesto and are an essential tool in LA’s policy armoury to help all families, including but not only in children’s early years. However, they need to do more than just help with parenting: whatever service families need should be accessible and connected through the local Family Hub network, and delivered in a relational way. 

For example, statutory guidance for integrating health care with health-related services now makes reference to Family Hubs. Easier access to healthcare, and parental awareness of the importance of good routines and good habits for prevention could make a major dent in health inequalities. Family Hubs can help achieve this through personnel who understand how the NHS works and by delivering services in places people are happy to come. 

Similarly, both mothers and fathers can benefit greatly from help, including after separation, to be the parents they want to be, whatever challenges they face. Our speakers will talk about good practice in existing Family Hubs, and how they can keep improving their support offer for families and save money through integrating services.   

Family Hubs are the social infrastructure that provides effective family support to achieve better outcomes for children and strengthen families.  The state cannot do it all.  Join us to hear how Family Hubs can build stronger, self-sustaining communities through public, private and voluntary sectors working together.

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