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Leading figures join together to support children and families in Stoke-on-Trent

Published: Tuesday, 13th December 2022

Leading figures join together to support children and families in Stoke-on-Trent

Cross-sector partners who support children and families across the city have spoken at an event to develop partnership-based plans and initiatives to continue to support children and young people in Stoke-on-Trent.

Around 50 delegates from organisations including national and regional agencies, and public, private, voluntary and community sector partners from across the city have come together for the latest City Forum.

The event was led by Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Abi Brown, and focused on:
•    What more can we do to provide the best possible support to families and prevent the number of children in care rising?
•    How can we bring all residents with us on our journey to level up Stoke-on-Trent, so no family is left behind?
•    How can organisations support children in care and care leavers with education and employment?
•    What do we need to do to improve joined-up working across agency boundaries so we can provide more holistic support to families?
•    How can organisations contribute to the Family Hub network across the city?
•    What can we do as a city to support our children and young people’s mental health?

The two keynote speakers at the event were:
•    Catherine Roche, Chief Executive at Place2Be 
•    Norah Minshall from Thrive at Five

Council leader Abi Brown said: “We have a strong record for children and young people in our city in recent years. Ofsted has recognised the improvement we have made, finding significant improvements and substantial progress in the quality of services. 

“Now with the support from partners across the city like those who attended the City Forum we are ensuring we have sufficient and sustainable services and provision in place for children.”

Patrick Myers, Partnership and Programme Lead at Thrive at Five said: “Our mission aligns well with the ambition of the City Forum. It is to help children in their early years develop strong foundations for life and learning. We build capacity in communities by supporting parents and carers, and we enable collaboration across the public, private and voluntary sectors to achieve sustainable change in early years outcomes.”

Catherine Roche, Chief Executive at Place2Be said: “I am delighted to be part of City Forum discussions to look at how, together, we can better support children and their families in Stoke. One in six children now experiences mental health difficulties. Through our experience of working in partnership with school communities, health, social care and across agency boundaries, we know that together we can establish a network of support and equip children, young people and families with the emotional tools to build resilience and to thrive.”

This event comes as the city council’s ‘Room to Grow’ progress report 2021-2022 was shared at a cabinet meeting today (Tuesday).   

Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We are now halfway through Room to Grow, our four-year strategy for children, young people and families in Stoke-on-Trent. Our first year was all about laying the foundations for success and developing our partnership; our second year has focused on building on those foundations and turning them into action.

“Our award-winning fostering campaign is leading the way as the UK’s first Fostering Friendly city. We have redesigned our early help service and remodelled our 0-19 health and wellbeing service to improve joint working. The launch of family hubs and Embedding Outcome Star, our early help assessment model in 2023 will provide a further opportunity for partners to come together on a local level, improving access and connections between families, professionals and services. It is an extremely exciting time to be a part of children and family services.”

You can read the ‘Room to Grow’ progress report 2021-2022 at https://www.stoke.gov.uk/directory_record/335028/room_to_grow_progress_report_2021-2022