Consultation begins on redesign of West Sussex’s early help services

A public consultation on proposed changes to early help services in West Sussex is now open.

These staff work with children and families who are facing any number of challenging circumstances and help ensure every child has a safe environment in which to thrive.

West Sussex County Council is proposing a series of changes to the early help service, which it says aim to improve how it delivers the right support at the right time in the right way.

The most controversial elements of the proposals are the plans to close a number of children and family centres, reducing the total number across the county from 43 to 11.

The 12 Find it Out youth advice centres would also close, with a youth drop-in service maintained at the remaining children and family centres.

The county council says that demand for its early help services are increasing and its proposals are about enhancing the support for vulnerable children and families, while staff would be able to work more closely with schools.

It has also carried out a review that has shown most people who need services the most do not access them in buildings.

Full details of the proposals are available on the consultation page.

A proposed review of early help services would see the majority of West Sussex's children and family centres close

Briefing events are being held online throughout March and April, which are open to everyone, giving an opportunity to hear directly from senior staff.

Jacquie Russell, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “The Early Help Service is an important part of our work to support children and families. So it is really important that we hear a wide range of views through the consultation and I strongly encourage as many people as possible to take part.

“We are committed to putting children and young people at the heart of everything we do. These proposals aim to enhance our Early Help service, targeting it where it is needed the most, reaching those families who are experiencing particularly difficult situations.”

The consultation runs until Monday May 17.

If anyone is unable to access the consultation online they can call 01243 777807 for a paper copy.