Young people help shape future Somerset Children’s Services

Young people across the county have helped shaped Somerset’s new Children and Young People’s Plan, setting out how key issues such as mental health, climate change, sexual health, harassment and more will affect young people.

Approved by Somerset County Council’s Executive on Monday 11 July, the Children’s and Young People Plan 2022-24 has been developed with young people to guide the work of Somerset County Council and its strategic partners in supporting families to be strong and resilient, helping children in Somerset to thrive and succeed.

Created in partnership with NHS Somerset and Avon and Somerset Police, the Plan will make sure all agencies work together with a shared vision to keep children and young people in Somerset safe, healthy and prepared for adulthood.

The Plan has been created with significant input from young people, through the Somerset Youth Parliament and Advisory Group, and the Somerset Youth Forum.  Young people wanted subjects that were important to them to be central to the plan. These subjects included mental health, the environment and climate change, sexual health, harassment, poverty, homelessness and more.

These key issues have been woven into the fabric of the strategy.

Progress will be measured and reported annually. Somerset’s children and young people will be able to judge that progress through the Youth Forum and Somerset Safeguarding and Children’s Partnership.

Councillor Tessa Munt, Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services at Somerset County Council said “The Children and Young People’s Plan helps the Council and our partners create a safe, healthy and nurturing environment for all children and young people in Somerset.  It is really important that young people shape the policies that support them, and they hold our performance to account.  Their continuing involvement will be crucial to making sure young people have the support they need as they prepare for adult life.”  

The key themes of the Plan are:

  • Early Help – working with young people and families, Early Help connects them with agencies to help families to help themselves as soon as the need arises. This ensures better wellbeing for the children and families, and less stress on services having to support more serious issues.
  • Safeguarding Children – Safeguarding from birth until teenage years means children and young people are protected from abuse and maltreatment and can grow up with safe, healthy and effective care.
  • All babies having the best start – This helps to improve the lives of families, and the long-term health needs of individuals and communities.
  • Better support for social, emotional, mental health and wellbeing – a whole system approach with joined up communication and data, delivering a range of early help options.
  • Support for education and inclusion – improvements in Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision, working with advice and guidance for families, and better early identification and provision for SEN needs means families build trust with the services and can avoid exclusion and help integration.
  • Reducing bullying and promoting positive communities – multi agency support will help young people involved in offending behaviour to prevent escalation. Aspirations of young people in need will be supported with access to arts, leisure and culture.
  • Poverty and homelessness – under the Local Government Reorganisation, housing strategy will address the needs of homeless children and families.
  • Climate and transport – with input from children and young people, services will link reductions in carbon emissions to combat climate change with accessible travel, protecting the environment and increasing the freedom of movement around the county and beyond.

To read the Children and Young People’s Plan 2022 – 2024 visit