Agenda item

One Reading Children and Young People's Partnership - Early Help Strategy 2021-2023

A report providing an update on the Early Help Strategy and progress against action plans in the three priority areas.


The Executive Director of Children’s Services – Education, Early Help and Social Care, Brighter Futures for Children, submitted a report updating the Committee on the One Reading Children and Young People’s (CYP) Partnership Early Help Strategy 2021-2023 and progress against the action plans in the three priority areas of Under 5s, Adolescence and Consistent Approaches to Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health.

Kirsten Carr, Strategic Lead, Early Help, Bright Futures for Children, provided a presentation outlining the priorities and progress. The presentation explained that the Under 5s workstream would be the Reading delivery group for Priority 3 of the Health & Wellbeing Strategy 2021-2030.  The workstream developed a single action plan which was in draft format and currently with stakeholders for feedback.  Work had been undertaken with the Local Government Association to develop a partnership Under 5s Strategy and partners had secured funding for a 5-year programme to upskill staff to identify children with SEND needs.  National guidance for Foundation Stage assessment was not yet available and practitioners were having difficultly in determining needs of children and if these were related to the impact of COVID or due to special educational needs.  With regard to the impact of COVID, Kirsten Carr explained that key action priorities would be to increase two-year olds accessing nursery places, working on speech, language and communication and reducing the non-accidental injuries suffered by unborn and new born babies.

A key priority of the adolescence workstream had been to establish the Young People and Extra Familial Harm Strategy. This included a data review and a series of multi-agency workshops to establish the key priorities. The draft strategy had been shared and signed off by key strategic groups. Action plans were in place and leads were being established. 

The Consistent Approaches to Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health workstream had prioritised embedding trauma-informed and restorative approaches across the workforce. There was concern regarding the impact of COVID and the impact on young people’s mental health. A free online training package and workforce development network had been established to ensure consistent baseline of knowledge and understanding.  The action plan had been aligned with key Berkshire West and Reading strategic groups and plans.

A national Family Hub programme focusing on early help had been launched. This was a continuation of the Supporting Families programme. Early discussions were being undertaken with partners on the feasibility to develop the family hub model in Reading. By using the Supporting Families Programme, two Partnership Outreach Workers and a Hospital Early Help Worker, in partnership with Royal Berkshire Hospital, had been employed.

With regard to the increase in referrals of injuries suffered by unborn and new born babies, it was noted that the partnership response and increase in the numbers accessing early intervention would have had an impact on the figures.  The pilot project to prevent school exclusions was funded through the youth offending services with schools to provide family and youth support for young people at risk of exclusion. The parent workshop pilot was delivered through primary mental health workers to support parents with children’s worries and anxieties with one-off workshops delivered via schools for parents to attend. Kooth was a website that young people could access at any time with advice and information. 

Regarding the Youth Development offer, it was reported that young people had been consulted and a strong network of voluntary organisations were working with young people to provide the best resources available. Consideration was being given to supporting youth workers delivering one to one work and to enable a more visible presence in communities using the Housing Allocations Grant to support youth work in Reading over the next two years. 


Resolved –    That the update on the One Reading CYP Partnership Early Help Strategy and progress made against priority areas, challenges and new opportunities be noted.

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