Plan to help vulnerable parents give Hartlepool babies the best start in life

Council chiefs are looking to create a new group to support vulnerable parents and help give babies the best start in life.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 10:50 am
Picture c/o Pixabay

A proposal is to go before Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee to consider forming the group to help tackle child and family poverty.

The plan is to deliver an initiative over a 12-month period which promotes ‘the best start in life’ for babies by offering equipment and a training programme to parents.

The proposal is to pilot a group for vulnerable parents who are encouraged to attend by receiving appropriate equipment that will keep their baby safe and benefit both parents and baby.

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Suggested items include moses baskets, safe bedding, accident prevention and first aid equipment such as fire guards and thermometers.

Identified parents invited to attend the group would receive a targeted pregnancy birth and beyond antenatal intervention which would aim to strengthen both their parenting and relationship with their babies, as well as receiving baby equipment to prepare for their new baby’s arrival.

A report from Sally Robinson, director of children’s and joint commissioning services at the council, said the scheme would aim to support families from the most vulnerable backgrounds.

She said: “Pregnancy and early childhood are the times when the foundations for future life are laid down.

“A baby’s brain develops in response to his or her early relationships, care and experiences.

“It is the view of officers working in children’s services that the delivery of this initiative will tackle the impact of poverty on the most vulnerable children and promote parenting skills and development of a strong bond between parent and child.”

The report also adds ensuring babies and toddlers stay safe in and around the home will help to reduce ‘the above average’ number of unintentional injuries in Hartlepool families.

From analysis of previous work in this area council chiefs identified there were an average of 11 referrals per month for parents who would benefit from the targeted intervention.

Officers estimate the cost of the equipment would be around £150 per participant therefore it is estimated that this scheme would cost around £1,500 – £2,000 per month.

If one course was ran every month, it would equate to a maximum spend of £24,000.

If approved the scheme would be funded from the council child and family poverty reserve.

A decision will be made on the scheme at the council Finance and Policy Committee meeting on Monday at 10pm.