4 May 2017

Families are set to be the focus of changes to children services in Sheffield.

In plans set to be discussed by Sheffield City Council’s cabinet committee on Wednesday, May 10, children centres will open up their services to children from pre-birth to 25 years old to make sure our services meet the needs of families, children and young people across the city.

Children centres currently provide services for children 0-five years.

None of the city’s existing 16 children’s centres will close.  Family centres will continue to provide early years services but will also expand to include services for families, young people and children too. A range of services will also be provided in linked and community outreach centres to meet the local area’s needs.

Under the new plans the city will be divided into seven geographical areas with each locality having dedicated linked and outreach centres across the city.

These proposed changes have been informed by the findings of a three-month consultation, during which more than 600 people had their say and 24 drop-in sessions were held across the city.

87% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with extending the service from 0-5 to pre-birth to 25.

Respondents felt that the most important services were support for their own and child’s health and wellbeing; meeting other parents/children to develop support networks; supporting knowledge and understanding of child development, and accessing advice during pregnancy.

Jayne Ludlam, Executive Director for Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council, explains that:  “This is really good news for Sheffield.  Building on the strength of our early years work, the proposed changes will allow more people to access support through increased outreach and partnership work, helping those families who need it the most to get the help that they need.

“The family centres will build on the principle of early help and prevention and focus on making early interventions at an early stage before problems escalate.

“These changes are categorically not about closing children’s centres. This will not happen. We will continue to invest in our children, young people and families, and these changes will make sure we can improve the range of services that we offer across the city.”