Man and Woman swinging child in the air playfully in an wooded area. The ‘one-stop shop’ for families—Family Hubs and Start for Life now open in local authorities across half the country

The ‘one-stop shop’ for families—Family Hubs and Start for Life now 'open' in local authorities across half the country

Sarah Richardson, Partner in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, family and children team.
Sarah Richardson
2 min Read

Following today’s announcement from the Department for Education (DfE), unveiling the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme, partner Sarah Richardson and the children's team share insights on the new initiative and its potential impact on communities and support for vulnerable young people. 

Family Hubs

Following a trial across 75 local authorities, Family Hubs, providing free help and support to parents, will form the backbone of the Government’s initiative to transform children’s social care. Each hub will offer practical support targeting early years’ development, mental health support for parents and carers, as well as training programmes designed to support parenting at home. The aim of the scheme is to centralise vital services and focus on early support to reduce the likelihood of intervention at a later stage. 

Start for Life Programme 

Alongside the scheme is a new campaign, Start for Life, which focuses on promoting and educating families about the opportunities and habits they can utilise to promote their child(ren)’s development on a daily basis.

The children’s team at Russell-Cooke combines public and private law in their diverse practice. As such, the wellbeing of families within our local community and beyond is a matter we are highly invested in and so we welcome the DfE announcement today introducing their new Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme. 

Strengthening safeguarding systems for vulnerable children 

According to expert Dr Samantha Callan, Family Hubs were first referred to in the Centre for Social Justice’s 2007 Breakthrough Britain Report, which focused on preventing family breakdown in order to help address poverty.  Dr Callan is clear that Family Hubs are “not just re-badged ‘Sure Start’… they build on its considerable legacy”. 
Following Lord Laming’s review of the death of Victoria Climbie in 2003 and Baby Peter in 2008, successive governments have been under pressure to demonstrate linked-up services which provide complementary safeguarding systems that protect some of the most vulnerable children and young people in England and Wales.  
It is good news that these vital services are available to more families across England. Although they are in just under 25% of the 317 local authorities in England, let’s hope they are soon available in all the 317 local authorities.
Sarah Richardson, Partner in the Russell-Cooke Solicitors, family and children team.
Sarah Richardson • Partner

The Government's full announcement is available to read online at the Department for Education.

Sarah Richardson is a partner in the family and children team, specialising in complex cases involving vulnerable adults and children during care proceedings. She is particularly experienced in advising and representing children in difficult and sensitive cases which are often life-changing for families

Get in touch

If you would like to speak with a member of the team you can contact our children law solicitors by email, by telephone on +44 (0)20 3826 7528 or complete our enquiry form.

Briefings Family and children Family Hubs and Start for Life Programme DfE DfE announcement Department for Education Family Hubs Start for Life Sure Start Centre for Social Justice 2007 Breakthrough Britain report Victoria Climbie Baby Peter Dr Samantha Callan address poverty local authorities children's social care early years' development mental health support for carers mental health support intervention child development preventing family breakdown safeguarding systems Safeguarding vulnerable children vulnerable young people Breakthrough Britain report Lord Laming's Review care proceedings