VULNERABLE children could be at risk under plans to scrap children’s centres in Warwickshire, says new Warwick & Leamington Labour MP Matt Western.
Warwickshire County Council is planning to scrap a number of centres and replace them with all-purpose ‘family hubs’ – including family, education and housing support services.
The current centres, which offer help and advice to parents and prospective parents, are facing funding cuts of £1.1million to make up for the £67million drop in government funding by 2020.
If plans go ahead, 12 of the 39 centres across Warwickshire will be converted into hubs and the rest either used as an outreach site, or no longer funded by the council.
But the plans have received criticism over fears the move could put vulnerable children at risk.
Mr Western said: “Our local children’s centre staff spend a significant proportion of their time and energy supporting families where children are at risk of being removed, or being made subject to Child Protection plans.
“Staff work hard towards encouraging families to be more resilient by helping them develop their parenting skills.”
Mr Western added the cuts came at a time when many families were increasingly struggling to get by, making the children’s centres even more important.
Green county councillor Jonathan Chilvers added: “Cuts to children’s centres will be a false economy. If families do not get support when they need it it costs more later and ruins lives.”
The council says the ‘family hubs’ model would benefit families by bringing all services under one roof.
The public is being urged to have their say on the plans. A consultation period will run from Monday June 26 to September 8, before councillors make a final decision in October.
Visit warwickshire.gov.uk/ask to submit views.