Home visits set to be scrapped for vulnerable families

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Council bosses are set to scrap a home-visiting service which provides support to vulnerable families with young children.

For the last six-and-a-half years Herts County Council has provided a service offering help and advice to hundreds of families with children aged five or under.

395 families are currently being helped by the 
service, with assistance 
varying from breastfeeding advice to help getting 
children ready for school.

Council chiefs say the change will save £390,000 a year, and claim that other existing services will help to fill the gap.

Richard Roberts, cabinet member for children’s 
services at Herts County Council, said: “We will 
continue to work with our partners in health, 
community groups and the voluntary sector to help parents give their children the best possible start in life.

“Families who currently receive the home visiting service will be offered alternative support through their local children’s centre, which can reach out to families who need the most support.”

The home-visiting 
service is provided by the Home Start group, with funding split between the council and NHS.

Mr Roberts added: “We fully appreciate the work of Home Start over the years, but services have evolved and we have to adapt to 
ensure that we make the most of the limited funding at our disposal.

“Our budget is facing huge pressures, but I am convinced that the new 
arrangements will 
continue to provide high-quality support for children and families, while saving taxpayers £390,000 a year from 2016/17.”

Councillors will discuss the proposal to end the scheme on Thursday, before a decision is made by the cabinet on July 13. The service would end in September.