Councillors will consider the final draft of a new strategy aimed at improving services and life opportunities for children and young people in County Durham.
Durham County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to agree the Children and Young People’s Strategy 2019 – 2022 when it meets at County Hall in Durham on Wednesday, 6 February.
The three-year strategy sets out priorities for all partner organisations dedicated to improving services and life opportunities for children and young people in County Durham. It recognises there are areas where County Durham could do better and outlines what actions partners will undertake to address these. It also considers the implications of national policy and legislation changes.
At its centre is a vision that “County Durham will be a great place for children and young people to grow up in, and for Durham to be a place where all children are healthy, happy, safe and achieving their potential.”
The proposed strategy follows widespread public consultation with children and young people aged from four to 22 across the county. This included children in care, those with special educational needs and disabilities, and individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning.
Groups that represent the interests of children and families were also consulted, along with key partners within the NHS, schools, Durham Constabulary, Local Safeguarding Children Board, the council’s children and young person’s overview and scrutiny committee and area action partnerships.
By drawing on the issues raised by children, young people and families during the consultation, the following strategic aims have been identified:
• Ensure all children and young people have a safe childhood by providing a range of universal services; protecting the vulnerable; providing excellent social work practice and support; providing excellent care for looked after children and care leavers; and supporting young people who have offended or are victims of crime.
• Ensure children and young people have the best start in life, good health and emotional wellbeing by providing high quality nursery and primary education; improving health and wellbeing outcomes with a specific focus on vulnerable young people; and supporting children and young people and their families to achieve their optimum mental health and wellbeing.
• Ensure young people gain the education, skills and experience to succeed in adulthood by providing the best possible education; improving educational attainment for all disadvantaged children and young people; and supporting young people to gain qualifications, skills and experience needed to progress into sustained employment.
• Ensure children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities achieve the best possible outcomes by providing more coordinated services across the area; providing high quality support that meets the individual’s needs; and ensuring children with special needs and disabilities are prepared for adult life and can live independently.
Cllr Olwyn Gunn, Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “ We want County Durham to be a wonderful place for all children and young people to grow up and reach their potential. To accomplish this, it is vital we listen to what children and families are telling us and work closely with our partners.
“This strategy demonstrates our commitment to this approach, identifying key aims that directly respond to issues raised by children and young people and setting out how we will achieve them.”
If approved, the new strategy would be robustly monitored, with regular progress reports to the Integrated Steering Group for Children and the Children and Families Partnership.
You can read the full report online at: