The Government has announced that more than £4m will be made available to extend COVID-19 response programmes supporting vulnerable families.
In a speech today at the Early Intervention Foundation’s National Conference, children’s minister Vicky Ford will announce an investment of almost £4.4m to extend COVID-19 response programmes run by major children’s charities.
Around £4.2m will go to a coalition of charities to continue the ‘See, Hear, Respond’ programme until March 2021.
Launched in June, this programme supports vulnerable children who fall below the threshold for statutory support and early help. The Government estimates it has so far reached more than 39,000 vulnerable or ‘hidden’ children whose usual support networks have been impacted by the lockdown.
The additional funding should reach an estimated 15,000 more children and young people, as well as 11,000 parents and carers in need of extra help.
‘This pandemic has caused unparalleled challenges for us as a country, but it has been particularly difficult for many vulnerable families who need the most support,’ Ms Ford said.
‘This funding will expand the vital service provided by the See, Hear, Respond partnership, which has already helped find and protect 39,000 children who may otherwise have remained ‘invisible’ without it.’
The minister will also announce plans to launch the procurement process for a new National Centre for Family Hubs and Integrated Services, to support areas and councils set up new family hubs.
‘We must go further, not just tackling the most urgent and immediate issues but also looking at our vision for the future by improving the resources that already exist,’ continued Ms Ford.
‘We promised to champion family hubs and the plans set out today will help make sure even more families and children can access the early health and education services we know can have a lifelong impact.’