Three year plan for children and young people approved

Plans to continue driving forward improvements in services for Somerset’s children and young people were approved by the County Council’s Cabinet and endorsed by partners this week.

The Children and Young People’s Plan (2016-19) has been developed in partnership with the police, health, schools, early years settings, adults services who support parents and other agencies. It focuses on the continuous improvement to services for children, young people and their families in Somerset.

The approval of the Plan by Cabinet Members comes after 12 months of urgent improvements to children’s services in Somerset. The ambitious nine priorities of the initial plan have now been achieved, allowing the Council and partners to look ahead at how they intend to continue making improvements.

“We’ve seen the good progress that was needed over the past 12 months and this plan allows us to continue to increase the pace of improvements that we have been making to children’s services,” said Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families.

“The Children and Young People’s Plan is all about helping families and communities to thrive and giving the children and young people the best possible start to life. The changes we have made in the last year have put us on the right path and now we’ll continue to work hard to ensure that what we have put in place really makes a difference.”

Mike Prior, Somerset Area Superintendent, said: “We feel this is a positive move forward and we wholeheartedly support the plan. It demonstrates all of the partner’s commitment to improve outcomes for children and young people in Somerset.”

Lucy Watson, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group’s Director of Quality and Patient Safety, said: “This plan highlights the importance of promoting good health and wellbeing for children and young people, both as individuals and as communities.

“Health professionals and social workers know that the health of children and young people, particularly their family life and emotional health and wellbeing, will influence their health into adulthood. We therefore owe it to all children to make sure they get the best start in life by growing up in a loving home and caring community.

“This plan will help children and young people to have a healthy start in life by promoting the benefits of eating a healthy diet, keeping active and making sure children, young people and their families can get early access to the support they need to prevent mental or physical ill health.”

Seven key themes emerge from the plan, which will be the focus of improvements for the next three years:

  • Supporting children, families and communities to become more resilient
  • Promoting healthy outcomes and giving children the best start in life
  • Improving emotional health and wellbeing
  • Building skills for life
  • Providing help early and effectively
  • Achieving effective multi-agency support for more vulnerable children and young people and developing an excellent children’s social work service
  • Embedding a think family approach across the workforce

The Department for Education (DfE) required Somerset County Council to develop the plan to highlight how the partnership of agencies working with children and young people in Somerset intend to continue and sustain improvements to children’s services. Feedback from the DfE appointed advisors to Somerset’s Improvement Programme, Essex County Council, has been positive.