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Family hubs

15 May 2018

From April 2017, Essex County Council (ECC) and the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (WECCG) commissioned Virgin Cares in partnership with Barnardo's to deliver the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service. The services are for children from before they are born through to the age of 19 (or 25 for young people with special educational needs and disabilities). From listening to families we understand that an easier to access service is important and that families do no want to visit several places or tell their stories to different people.  They want a service that meets that needs of families rather families meeting the criteria for services.


There is now a new Family Hub in each district.  This building will be open for 50 hours a week and will have a range of professionals who can support a growing family.  This will make things much simpler for everybody by bringing a number of services under one roof making sure that they work as one team, communicate as one team, prioritise the same things and respond to what families need as one team.

Previously, there were a number of separately commissioned services for families from pre-birth to 19 (pre-birth to 25 for young people with special educational needs).  These services inluded Children's Centres, the Family Nurse Partnership, the 0 - 5 Healthy Child Programme, the 5 - 19 Healthy Child Programme and the Healthy Schools Programme. Now, they will all work together as one team.

As well as the Family Hubs, there are also Delivery sites and these are open between 20-30 hours a week.  By making better use of the buildings in the community, such as libraries and community centres, Virgin Care and Barnado's are planning to deliver services from more locations and are confident that can provide a better service that means families don't have to go to lots of different places to get the support they need.  Services should be where families need them and in some cases this will be families' own sitting rooms.

The support delivered includes:

  • Health visiting: e.g. antenatal contact, transition to parenthood, new baby review, maternal mental health, wellbeing and development of children under 1 year.
  • Support for ages 5 - 19: e.g. dental care, review of immunisation status, help to support any physical, emotional or developmental problems, providing children, parents and school staff with information on specific health issues, measuring height and weight.
  • Support for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) up to the age of 25. Through using family hubs, delivery and outreach sites there is a wide range of activity and services that is available for children, young people and families.
West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group joined the process with Essex County Council to commission Children's Community Health Services in the west Essex area, including:
  • Child Development Centre
  • Specialist School Nursing
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Community Paediatrics
  • SEND Dedicated Officer
  • Specialist Accident and Emergency Liaison
  • Children's Community Nursing
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Dietetics