Council approves five-year plan to improve outcomes for children and young people in Hertfordshire

'Our Way Forward' is designed to improve outcomes and support children and their families to get back on track

Friday, 19th November 2021, 9:14 am

A five-year plan has been drawn-up to improve outcomes for children in Hertfordshire and to help families to ‘get their lives back on track’, in the wake of the pandemic.

The county council’s ‘Our Way Forward’ suggests that over the coming years more families will experience financial hardship.

It suggests many children and young people in the county will have to deal with the impact the pandemic has had on their education, mental well-being and work opportunities.

The Our Way Forward document was approved on Monday, November 15 by a meeting of the county council’s cabinet

And it says services will see an increase in demand, with support in the community and funding will be restricted.

Designed to improve outcomes and support children and their families to get back on track, ‘Our Way Forward’ is based around five ambitions.

Those ambitions include aims to ensure there are enough school places, access to the right type of therapy and SEND provision, catch-up support and the provision of early help.

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At the meeting executive member for children, young people and families Cllr Teresa Heritage said the plan had been developed in conjunction with staff, children, young people and families through a series of focus groups.

And backing the plan, leader of the county council Cllr Richard Roberts acknowledged the challenges families had faced during the pandemic.

“It has been a tough time coming out of Covid for children and families,” he said.

“Education has been disrupted, families have been thrown together – with less space and not being able to go to school, on occasions.

“So it is absolutely the right time to land Covid recovery programme and for that overlay this new strategy – and I wish it well.”

According to the plan, the first ‘Our Way Forward’ ambition is to meet the needs of Hertfordshire’s children in their local community by ensuring there are enough school places, that children can access the right type of therapy, a range of SEND provision and that there are sufficient placements for children in care

The second ambition is to commission and deliver ‘trauma informed services’ to meet individual needs, ensuring that children and young people are listened to, and that services are designed flexibly and reflect an understanding of what being inclusive means.

The third ambition aims to support children and young people to get their lives and education back on track, to ensure access to a range of support to help them catch up, to feel content, safe and resilient and that – with communities and employers – they can access training and employment.

The fourth ambition is to have a skilled and flexible workforce who are proud to work in the county.

And the fifth is to deliver early help and support – with children and families able to access support at the earliest opportunity to prevent them from falling, or remaining, in poverty.