Children and Young People
The Somerset Intelligence website contains a wealth of information relating to children and young people in the county. Collectively, this forms a major element to the Somerset Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA), the evidence base for those involved in running or commissioning services for people in the county.
Vulnerable children and young people were the primary focus of the 2015/16 Somerset JSNA Summary, published in June 2016. This brings together data and intelligence from a large number of sources, to be found in appropriate sections of this website. This webpage includes pages for a wide range of themes.
The 2015/16 JSNA Summary considered the information within a framework of:-
Considering vulnerabilities in this way helps give us a more rounded picture of the often complex issues that have an influence on children and young people.
The JSNA Summary, in turn, informed the Somerset Children and Young People's Plan 2016-2019, refreshed for 2019-22 (see below).
Key Findings from the JSNA
- Of the 110,000 children under the age of 18 living in Somerset, between 5,000 and 10,000 are in particular need, the majority living in the most deprived urban wards
- Those children in need living in rural areas face particularly difficult issues with less contact with existing services.
- The more accessible we make information and signposting, the more individuals, families and communities can help themselves
- Improving the conditions for vulnerable children across Somerset is best achieved by improving the life chances of the most vulnerable fastest.
- The Family Focus programme (part of the national Troubled Families scheme) identifies 2,790 families in Somerset with three or more of the eligible areas of need.
- Families experiencing more abusive or criminal issues tend to be grouped together geographically. On the other hand, families with lifestyles which adversely affect children but without causing serious harm are more widely dispersed, which has implications for service capacity across the county.
- The vulnerabilities of parents are known to have an impact on children. Improvements have been instigated across adults services, where families are at risk of developing problems, to identify vulnerable children.
- Investing in 'early help' integrated district-based services will deliver a high return for children’s development.
- Greater integration and information sharing, for instance by using the individual NHS number and Unique Pupil Reference Number (UPRN), would better enable us to identify a child’s vulnerabilities and provide more appropriate support at an earlier stage.
- About 14,300 Somerset children live in low-income households. Whilst not all will be ’vulnerable’, poverty is a strong indicator of poor wellbeing and lack of opportunity.
- Such households are tightly clustered in specific localities of Taunton, Bridgwater and Yeovil. It is important that public services are concentrated and well-co-ordinated within these areas, but there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution; each individual or group has particular needs.
- There is a continued need for skilled face-to-face delivery of services in homes, community buildings and shared ‘hubs’, amongst others
- Building community capacity to support vulnerable young people close to home remains important
The Somerset Plan for Children, Young People and Families 2019 - 2022
This is a three year Plan for all children, young people and their families living in Somerset. It has been developed with children and young people and the Somerset partnership.
The Plan supports ‘Improving Lives’ – the Somerset Health and Wellbeing strategy. Key priorities for Somerset are strengthening families and communities, the importance of partnership working, providing the tools for families to help themselves and intervening early when needed.
The vision is for children, young people and their families to be:
Happy, Healthy And Preparing For Adulthood
This has been shaped by young people themselves. They were asked about their hopes for the future and how they can be supported to thrive in Somerset. Young people said that they want to grow up in loving families and caring communities with well supported and supportive parents, families, friends, schools and the wider community.
The main priorities are for every child and young person in Somerset to have:
- Supported Families: ‘strengthening families and building resilient communities’
- Healthy Lives: ‘families making the right choices to support happy healthy lifestyles’
- Great Education: ‘high aspirations, opportunities and achievement for all’
- Positive Activities: ‘getting the most out of life through play, leisure, cultural and sporting opportunities’
A key element of the Children and Young People's Plan framework is Somerset's Strategy for Achieving Excellence for All 2016-2020.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Needs Assessment
To inform commissioning of local services, the SEND Improvement Board in Somerset initiated a SEND Needs Assessment. The Improvement Board includes members of Somerset County Council, Clinical Commissioning Groups, health providers, education providers, and representatives from parent-carer groups. For further information see our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) page.
How to find more detailed data:
For information on each of the following topics, please click on the appropriate link below:-
Health and Wellbeing:
Schools, Skills and Learning
Economic Wellbeing and Inequalities
Consultation and Engagement