Academics from the University’s Sheffield Institute of Education will carry out the evaluation of the 12 Family Hub centres across Doncaster as part of a national £14m programme funded by the Department of Education (DfE).
The programme was recently announced by Children and Families Minister, Vicky Ford MP, during a speech at the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS) annual conference.
Family Hub Centres are a single point of contact to support vulnerable families with children up to the age of 18. They bring together services delivering an integrated local offer across health, early years, education, family support and employability.
The evaluation of the hubs within Doncaster will be used to improve the provision across the town as well as disseminate good practice nationally.
Professor Mike Coldwell , Head of Centre for Development and Research in Education at Sheffield Hallam, said: “We are delighted to be appointed by government, working with Doncaster MBC to evaluate their Family Hubs programme. Together we aim to provide the evidence they need to further improve their support for families in Doncaster and provide valuable evidence to inform the development of the sector across the country.”
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC) and Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE) have existing partnerships including the delivery of an intensive home visiting programme for young children in Doncaster through an Education Endowment funded project. DMBC acted as the lead local authority working with SIoE on this project to develop speech, language and communication services across South Yorkshire.
Cllr Lani-Mae Ball, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Young People, said: “Doncaster Family Hubs are the place to go and they offer a wide range of activities, services and information for our children and families. They are deeply embedded within our communities, and despite the lockdowns we have had in the past year, our teams were still on hand to provide much needed support. I really welcome this evaluation so that we can look to increase our reach and engagement for our families, with the hope that our hubs will continue to go from strength to strength.”
The Family Hubs evaluation project is due to run until March 2023.