Children and young people from across the county have helped shaped Somerset’s new Children and Young People’s Plan, providing a link between what children have asked us to do and partners strategic priorities.
The Children’s and Young People Plan has been co-produced by the Somerset Safeguarding Children Partnership with children and young people and strategic partners, to provide clear direction and enable us to work better together on shared priorities in order to make the necessary changes to improve outcomes for children, young people and families in Somerset.
The plan sets out a shared vision to keep children and young people in Somerset safe and ensure they can grow up in a child friendly county that supports them to be happy, healthy and prepared for adulthood. Taking a whole family approach, we will support our families to be strong and resilient, working together to achieve long-term change and stability so that children can thrive and succeed.
The plan has been created with significant input from children and young people through the Somerset Youth Parliament and Advisory Group, the SSCP Youth Forum, Young Somerset, 2BU, local youth groups, and specific workshops and events. Young people wanted priorities that were important to them to be central to the plan, these include key issues such as mental health, climate change, sexual health, discrimination and learning opportunities.
These key issues have been woven into the fabric of the plan.
Chloe, 18 years old, said: “It is an honour for me to be able to help other children and young people with their needs and ambitions, it helps them to have the help and support they need, and I feel listened to.”
Progress will be measured and reported annually to partners via the Somerset Safeguarding and Children’s Partnership, with an annual conversation event held with children and young people to reflect on the progress via the SSCP Youth Forum.
Superintendent Dickon Turner, Somerset Commander for Avon & Somerset Constabulary and SSCP Executive member, said: “It is so important that children can live happily and safely, grow and succeed to make Somerset a safe and productive place in the future. This plan brings police, health and social workers, teachers, and others together to make that possible.”
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 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, delivering a range of early help options, ensuring that accessing help is easy and accessible.
- 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 new Children and Young People’s Plan please visit: https://sscb.safeguardingsomerset.org.uk/somerset-children-young-peoples-plan/