A new needs assessment for children and young people

Thank you for visiting our consultation site.  This post will be the first of many to explore the broad range of factors that affect the lives of Bristol’s children and young people.  We will be uploading lots of different information over the summer in order to offer you the chance to tell us your views on needs and priorities for children, young people and families in Bristol.

The first document we are posting, Stories of Change, was produced at the beginning of the year, and gives a quick overview of how services have been responding to changing needs over the past three years.  You can view a copy of the document here.

Let us know your thoughts on whether this is an accurate reflection of children’s needs and the services provided for them, and let us know if you think anything is missing from this picture.  What issues do you think we should be looking into in more detail?

Over the next few months, we will be posting more information about the work we’re doing and providing updates regularly.  Please check back for new posts and the opportunity to comment on a wide range of topics.

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7 Responses to A new needs assessment for children and young people

  1. Jo Stallard says:

    It is very interesting to see the results of Barnardo’s consultation. In Autumn 2008 BREAD Youth project facilitated a consultation exercise with young people aged 13 –19 years across the city.

    The groups involved in the consultation included young carers, BME young people, disabled young people and young people living on council estates in north and south Bristol. The consultation was led by young volunteers, with an aim to identify the important issues relevant to young people, i.e. the issues they would like their youth workers and peer educators to focus on.

    60 young people from across the city participated in the process. Young people identified the following top five issues as priorities:

    1. Confidence building – ‘feeling good about myself’
    2. Bullying – ‘coping with being bullied’, ‘challenging the behaviour of others’
    3. Personal Safety – ‘assessing risky behaviour’, ‘keeping myself safe from harm’
    4. Sex and Relationships – ‘the emotional aspects’, ‘maintaining self respect’, ‘minimising the effects of peer pressure’
    5. Friendships – ‘making new friends’, ‘understanding and managing positive relationships’, ‘working out what to do when things go wrong’.

    We have contributed two BREAD research papers to the New Needs Assessment for Children and Young People. They are:

    · ‘Community Cohesion and Young People in Bristol’ (Sept 2008)
    · ‘Young Peoples’ Issues: A Paper for Peer educators and Youth Workers in Bristol’ (Oct 2008)

    If you would like further information please contact me at BREAD Youth project. (please see http://www.breadyp.org.uk for further information)

    Jo Stallard
    BREAD Youth Project

  2. Sue Topalian says:

    Agree with Maria about need to influence fathers and engage boys and men generally, particularly around domestic abuse issues.

    We know now, from neuroscience, that the quality of attachment in the first 2 years is key to the physical formation of those connections in the brain that give children the ability to form meaningful empathetic relationships and so fit into society.
    I would like to see us take a long term view, identifying the families who are likely to have parenting/ attachment difficulties very early, and then providing long term, intensive, consistent, flexible, well trained ‘befriending in partnership’ support, with a focus on helping parents achieve whatever promotes the welfare of the children, recognising that this will be needed over years rather than months. We still tend to have a lot of different people form different agencies with limited time involved in families with difficulties for short periods, when research says that the quality of the ‘helping’ relationship is the key factor in promoting change, and relationships and understanding grow over time. Family Intervention Projects have this kind of approach (or used to – I may be out of date!).This would be expensive, but could make a huge cost difference in terms of future costs of crime and mental health services.

    Another area of need is to enable and encourage high need families to access help before they reach social care thresholds. It can be very difficult to get families with high levels of need to access services, but almost all parents do have links with schools, who they know have a shared care for their children. This could be exploited more than it is to build up trusting links with very high needs families, and provide parenting help, advice, therapeutic intervention, etc. Probably would mean having more well trained emotional health/ family / home – school workers based in primary schools, perhaps basing existing staff in schools?

  3. Sue Topalian says:

    On needs assessment, will recent work done on needs assessment for children and young people be incorporated into this needs assessment? As the first stage of developing the Emotional Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2009-14, we compiled a fairly full needs assessment including statistical data, research, consultation data, and info re gaps in services. Much of this is still relevant.

    The background papers for the EHWB strategy are on the web to download at http://www.bristolpartnership.org/the-5-boards/children-and-young-peoples-trust-board/shared-responsibilities-and-processes/emotional-health-and-wellbeing

  4. jfb57 says:

    Really useful to have a blog to share views! Will be popping in regularly. Going ot read what is here first & will be back!

  5. Mark Hubbard, Compact Liaison Officer says:

    My comment relates to the development of the new Needs Assessment (‘evidence of need’) for the Children’s Plan 2011-14. In my job I work with commissioners and service providers to help make good processes.
    I want to emphasise to Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations that participating in this Needs Assessment is a great opportunity. Your expert opinion and perspective will really help shape the services that will be commissioned during the 2011-14 period.
    In addition to lots of desk-based research and a consultation event, the commissioners are seeking your input via this blog. Their hope is that you can (a) input the ‘evidence of need’ for your services and/or (b) contribute to discussions, (c) provide information on which customers that you believe should be considered in the Plan.
    Your perspectives and expertise are really important. I am often asked about commissioning and how VCSE organisations can participate. The current work to define the Needs Assessment is a crucial part of the Commissioning Cycle: analyse-plan-do-review. This stage of the cycle (‘Analyse’) includes analysis of customer needs and current service provision. It will be followed by ‘Plan’, when commissioners will develop a commissioning strategy, including the specification for services. After that, the ‘Do’ stage is when tenders/proposals are invited and services commissioned.
    I hope that it is clear that all services are developed in response to a comprehensive understanding of customers’ needs (the Needs Assessment). It is, therefore, very important that VCSE organisations, with detailed understandings of their customers’ needs, participate in this process. That information will help commissioners understand all needs in the city and then design services to meet those needs. Commissioners will prioritise resources and, in difficult times, it is crucial that they do so with all possible information to hand.
    I encourage all VCSE organisations with an interest in children and young people to participate in this process. I am based at Voscur and am happy to discuss with you Compact and your engagement in this process.
    Mark Hubbard, Compact Liaison Officer (www.voscur.org)

  6. Dr Deborah Judge says:

    I agree with Dr Bredow, highlighting issues re. fathers. Along with this issue is substance misuse and parenting and the impact on infants, children and adolescents. There is currently a disconnection between adult and childrens services. The issue of drug and alcohol use – including fathers- is potentially an opportunity for developing cross-agency working to improve child outcomes.

  7. Dr Maria Bredow says:

    Useful summary document. Map of child poverty needs to have some landmarks or area names so we can identify different bits of Bristol. Most importantly, we need to have a strategy for working with fathers/male carers. We have not even made an assessment of paternal support needs across the city as far as I am aware, yet their role in parenting is crucial. We need to look at how fathers wish to be engaged in learning how to parent, and how to engage them when things go wrong, esp domestic violence, anger management, emotional literacy etc. This needs to start by working with boys as young as primary school pupils in terms of attitudes to girls, anger management, negotiation with authority figures (teachers/social workers/ doctors etc). A starting strategy needs to be included in this document.

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