Children's centres are the delivery mechanism for the Family Offer in Sandwell. The aim of the service is to deliver better outcomes for children and their families. They are based on a commitment to improve the coordination, quantity and quality of services for children. This stems from the belief that the joining up of services and disciplines such as education, care, family support and health is a key factor in determining good outcomes for children.
The service provides timely and co-ordinated support to children, young people and families with additional needs to prevent their problems from escalating.
Traditionally, children's centres have been focused on the needs of children under five years old and their families, but as part of Sandwell’s Family Offer their remit has been extended to provide support to children and young people 0-19 years (up to 25 years if they have special education needs or disabilities).
The Family Offer consists of a number of parts:
- An information point for local parents about services in the area and in the borough as a whole
- A support service for children and young people diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families (and support prior to confirmed diagnosis)
- Early Years services working with parents to develop their understanding of how young children learn and develop so that their children are ready for school.
- A family support service for children, young people and their families.
- An antenatal education programme
- A health promotion role linking with all other elements of the Offer e.g. breastfeeding, healthy eating, smoking cessation, immunisations, oral health, etc
- Support to parents to access education and training as steps towards employment
- In addition childcare services offering early learning for twos (ELT) and nursery education fund (NEF) are available in the majority of children’s centres across the borough
Services are based on a core children’s centre in each of the six towns in Sandwell (with two core children’s centres in West Bromwich).