SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER
This chapter provides an overview of the work of Children's Centres across the city.
Children's Centres are the foundation of the Government's drive to tackle child poverty and social exclusion through providing services to potential parents, parents-to-be, parents, carers (including grandparents) and children to promote the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development of babies and young children so that they can flourish at home and when they go to school. Children's Centres are legislated as part of the Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. Children's Centres are central to Derby's 'Early Help' offer. The Local Authority has a statutory duty to provide sufficient Children's centre services.
There are 13 children's centres located throughout the city. Government direction allows us to ensure that children's centres should deliver their core purpose with a renewed focus on some universal service delivery, coupled with early intervention to target the most vulnerable children.
Children's centres are delivered on a locality basis, grouping centres together across a small area so that targeted services reach those in most need. In Derby the core purpose for children's centres will be delivered across a locality but not necessarily with all services and activities at each centre. Whilst some universal services, such as Child Health clinics and support for worklessness should be available to parents of all children under 5 who require it within a locality, the focus of Centre activities will be to provide targeted services available to those in most need. In some cases a referral system for activities is in place.
Locality management has been in place since April 2011 and a new management structure in children's centres has been in place since April 2012.
2. Children's Centre Objectives
Children's Centres must work towards their core purpose when providing services to families with under 5's.
The core purpose that children's centres are required to deliver is to improve outcomes and narrow the gap. Particularly in terms of identifying, reaching and supporting the families in greatest need (vulnerable children / children with CP plans and Looked After under 5's) to improve their:
- Parenting capacity (domestic abuse; substance abuse; neglect);
- Health and wellbeing (including economic wellbeing); and
- Child development and school readiness;
- Children's Centres offer a combination of group and centre activity and outreach work which is targeted at the most vulnerable under 5's and their families. In addition, universal services such as health clinics and 'Stay and Play' sessions are available in the majority of centres;
- If either a Social Care or Mat worker has a family on their case with a child under 5, it is the worker's responsibility to register the child/family with a centre in their locality, and support them to access the right services.
For other professionals and partners, referral for a targeted service should be sent to VCM on either a pre early help assessment checklist if the family just require access to activities and an Early Help Assessment if they require an outreach service form a family visitor.
For more information please visit the Derby City Council website (our website is being updated frequently, so please be aware that some information may be under review).