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A new model for more co-ordinated and community-based children's services is outlined in a discussion document publ...
A new model for more co-ordinated and community-based children's services is outlined in a discussion document published today by key agencies responsible for these services - the Local Government Association, the NHS Confederation and the Association of Directors of Social Services.

'Serving children well - a new vision for young people's services' sets out a strategic framework for children's services which enhances life chances for them and prevents later intervention. It is intended to involve children and their families more centrally in the organisation of services and ensure that agencies work in partnership to meet their needs. The report says:

'Children live as part of their family, their school and their community. Housing, schools, play facilities, transport, GPs and health care, and social services all shape their experience. It is only at a local level that this complex picture can be made coherent and accountable.'

The key developments proposed in the report are:

-- involving children in planning services and ensuring more community accountability

-- creating local multi-disciplinary teams to develop more joined up, responsive services for children and their families

-- developing a common approach and shared responsibility for child assessment

'Serving children well- a new vision for young people's services' published today will be the focus of discussions during the autumn, led by the partner agencies involved. The aim is to set out a more developed and detailed strategy later in the year when local areas will be asked to pilot the proposals being considered.

Welcoming the report's publication, Cllr Alison King, chair of the Local Government Association's social care and health executive said:

'It is vital that we all work together to improve children's services nationally through taking a locally-focused approach. All children deserve the best life chances, I hope our ideas will stimulate a debate and future action that will ensure this is possible. Involving children, their families and communities in planning these services is at the centre of our plans.'

Dianne Jeffrey, chair of the NHS Confederation said:

'The different NHS services for children must be integrated with other local provision if we're really going to put the needs of children first. This report signals our ongoing commitment to delivering first class care to vulnerable children and their families.'

Michael Leadbetter, president of the Association of Directors of Social Services said:

'This report will stimulate the debate we need to have locally as well as nationally about what it is we really want for our children - they depend on us all taking responsibility together to ensure our support helps children grow up safe, well cared for and ambitious for their own futures - local action to reflect local circumstances is the way we will achieve that.'

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