Improving Children’s Services Networks: Lessons from Family Centres

  Improving Children’s Services Networks: Lessons from Family Centres
  Jane Tunstill, Jane Aldgate and Marilyn Hughes,
  Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  ISBN: 184310461X,


This evaluative study explores the development of family centres in the context of changing law and policy, particularly Every Child Matters, writes Philippa Hulley. It analyses the range of services provided by family centres from a variety of perspectives, including those of social workers, parents and family centre staff.

The study gives an overview of the changing roles undertaken by family centres within wider networks of service providers. It explores some of the tensions around managing issues involved in functioning as a service provider, as a gateway to services and as a facilitator of multi-agency working.

The book also looks at how family centres negotiate ­conflicting roles inherent in providing family support alongside child protection provisions.

While this study enables us to hear a range of professionals’ and parents’ views, the voices of children and young people are not heard, and for me this means the study is incomplete. The book could also be improved by more in-depth exploration of the issues of diversity that shape family centre services.

Having said that, the book is accessible and easy to read. It is undoubtedly of interest to family centre staff, but most useful to those professionals who purchase services from children’s centres and want a more in-depth insight into the issues and challenges they face functioning within a shifting policy framework.

Philippa Hulley is a 16+ social worker at Solihull Council

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