THE FUTURE OF CORNWALL’S CHILDREN’S SERVICES
An ambitious plan aimed at radically changing the way services work together in order to improve the lives of our children was launched in Truro today.
“One Vision” is the Children’s Services part of the NHS Sustainability & Transformation Plan (STP), deliberately separated and re branded as Children’s Services needs are often lost in the bigger picture.
Cllr Andrew Wallis (Ind, Porthleven) Portfolio Holder for Children and Young People launched the vision today at Lys Kernow in front of local media. Like the STP the final plan is not written yet and this is the launch of the consultation period. This was a deliberate move Cllr Wallis said, he was reaching out to those who would not normally get themselves involved in such things…Mums, Dads, young families, those with teenage children and grandchildren, the people who use the services should help design the services.
“This is not about cutting services for children, young people and families in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly”
“We know that parents and carers and young people are not interested in which organisation runs a service – they just want to know that the service will be there when they need it. We already have strong relationships with our partners in health, schools, the police and the voluntary and community sector. Developing the One Vision Plan will help us to deliver improved joined up services which meet the needs of our children, young people and families. “
“Research shows that childhood poverty has a significant impact on the health and educational outcomes of children and young people,” said Kathryn Hudson, Director for Integrated Commissioning at NHS Kernow.
“The aim of our “One Vision” Partnership Plan is to ensure that partners work together for all children and young people in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, to support parents to keep them safe and healthy and achieve a brighter future. We are also committed to enabling families and our staff to close the gap between those who are doing well and those who are doing less well”
“Some need more specialist help and support due to the impact of adverse childhood experiences. We have found that this help is more effective when needs are identified early and services work together in an integrated way. This is what children and young people, parents and carers want”.
More than 1 in 3 children and young people in some areas of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are living in poverty – higher than the national average. Children and young people are experiencing more and more problems and threats to their health and welfare arising, in part, from parental mental health problems, alcohol and substance misuse, and domestic violence. There are a higher than average number of young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health problems, with up to 17,000 young people reported to have deliberately harmed themselves by the age of 25, and a higher number admitted to hospital for alcohol and substance misuse conditions.
These problems have a negative impact on the ability of children to do well at school and make a better future for themselves. There is also a gap in the number of young people achieving at school, with only 37% of 11 year olds reaching their goals in reading, writing and Maths, compared to 51% nationally.
However the officials today came back again and again to the amount of money that has been cut from central government recently – since taking over as the council’s lead on Children’s Services 4 years ago Cllr Wallis has seen a fall of 35% from his first annual budget. And the reductions will keep coming said Jack Cordery the Council’s Children’s Service Director and the demands on the service will get tougher. CS asked the panel how close Cornwall was getting to the point where the Council simply can not deliver the minimum level of service they are required to under law. “We’re there” admitted Cllr Wallis “we’re on that red line now”.
This is not the best we can do for Cornish children because that would cost money we haven’t got . But this, said the panel, was the best they could achieve with what meagre resources they had. And they’ve got to scrimp and save and be clever and work together to still try and do the best for our kids.
Mr Cordery reminded us of the disparity in funding that Cornish children receive. Some children in the country get allocated up to 4 times the amount our Cornish kids get, he said. Our kids, and the families that support them (or don’t) have been losing out for years and we are are still near the bottom of the table despite, in pockets, having some of the highest levels of social deprivation in Europe. He said that after he moved here from a posh London Borough he was “stunned” at low level of funding Cornish kids get compared to London.
Watch the Press Conference for a deeper insight into the future of Children’s Services in Cornwall….
The “One Vision” Plan has been produced jointly by Cornwall Council, the Council of the Isles of Scilly and NHS Kernow, in partnership with Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust all of whom had representatives around the table at todays press conference (except the Scillonians – bit mizzly today so no one from the islands could get over).
It covers a wide range of education, health and social care services commissioned by Cornwall Council, NHS Kernow and the Council of the Isles of Scilly. These include education and early years’ services, support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, community child health services, including child and adolescent mental health services, early help services, and children’s social care, including child protection, children in care and care leavers.
The Plan will be achieved by partners working together through five priority outcomes:
- Strengthening families and communities – by providing high-quality preventative services for all and targeted early support those who are vulnerable
- Promoting and protecting children’s physical, emotional and mental health – by developing improved early years services, promoting healthy lifestyles and emotional resilience and providing support to help children and young people recover from adverse childhood experiences like neglect and abuse
- Helping and protecting children from the risk of harm – by providing services to support children at risk of neglect and abuse arising from parental problems like mental health problems, alcohol/substance misuse and domestic abuse
- Raising the aspiration and achievement of children and young people towards economic wellbeing – focusing on providing support in early years to improve school readiness, raise progress and achievement at all stages above the national average, and improve outcomes for children with special educational needs and disabilities, children in care and care leavers
- Making a positive contribution to the community – supporting parents to find employment through coaching, education and training opportunities; working with partners to reduce anti social behaviour, homelessness, and drug and alcohol problems; providing guidance and support to young people at risk of not being in education, employment and training and providing educational, housing and employment support for care leavers.
The Partnership Plan is also supported by Devon and Cornwall Police, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership and the Safer Cornwall Partnership.
The feedback from the partner meetings and the engagement sessions taking place during the Summer will then be considered by the key partners before the Transformation Plan is agreed later in the year.