The strategy, “Our Children, Our Future”, led by the Lambeth Children’s Partnership, aims to put families at the centre of a more integrated network of services, with the council, health service, schools, voluntary organisations and police working together to give children the best possible start in life.
It lists five key areas to focus this work:
- Lambeth Made: Our Children, Our Future – a campaign to be launched in the summer to enlist the community and business in creating a more child-friendly borough
- A Better Start (0-5) – the work needed to enhance early years services
- A New Approach to Early Help (5-19) – a plan to link professionals working with families in each town centre
- Children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND) – a new strategy has been finalised which prioritises closer working with families
- Children at risk of harm and Children Looked After – the improvement journey, already begun, to put children at the heart of practice, will continue.
How was the plan created?
More than 350 children, young people, parents and other community members were involved in workshops, a large-scale event and an online survey to feed ideas into the strategy. They included groups which are particularly vulnerable to poor outcomes: children living in poverty, looked after children, children and young people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and children with special educational needs and/or disability.
Among their key messages were the need for easier access to support, with better publicity on what was available, and the importance to young people of peers and family members as supporters and mentors. They highlighted mental ill health and youth violence as big issues, but would be reluctant to share problems with authority figures.
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Jane Pickard, Cabinet Member for Families and Young People and Chair of Lambeth Children’s Partnership, said:
“We want to support families more effectively. And we need to draw on all the goodwill in the community to widen opportunities for children, especially for those with greater disadvantages.
“With the help of our many excellent schools and voluntary organisations, Lambeth has managed to keep children’s centres and youth centres open despite unprecedented cuts to our budget. We have improved academic results and increased apprenticeships. Now we need to step up a gear and ensure that we create a network strong enough to meet further challenges and significantly improve young people’s life chances. I believe this plan will enable us to do that. We can and will make Lambeth one of the best places in the world for a child to grow up.”
How to get a copy
Images from the launch event: