Children and young people make up almost 1 in 5 of Cambridgeshire's population. While most are healthy and achieve their potential, there are still key inequalities in outcomes for some children and young people, and these are demonstrated in a number of key indicators, including differences in life expectancy, attainment rates cross all key stages of education, rates of young people Not in Employment, Education, or Training (NEET), and rates of unhealthy weight, childhood deaths and hospital admissions.
This JSNA is an overview of needs and key issues affecting outcomes for children and young people in Cambridgeshire and updates our first JSNA for children and young people in 2007/08. It was developed at a time of change. National strategy is moving to a much more localised agenda and so, where possible, the information is broken down to district and area or ward level in order to inform the commissioning and planning decisions of the area partnerships of the Children's Trust, schools, voluntary and community sector and GP clusters. The current financial pressures provide powerful drivers for fundamental review and redesign of children's services. As part of overall reductions, services are likely to become more targeted to those children, young people and families considered to be most in need, and in communities where need is highest. Recent national policy guidance also stresses the importance of the early years and providing a good start in life, together with prevention, early intervention and well integrated services to reduce both duplication and gaps in service provision.
Overall, and in comparison with the national picture, Cambridgeshire is a relatively prosperous county. Children and young people in Cambridgeshire generally have above average health, educational attainment and life chances. However, for some children and young people we can do more to improve their chances in life.
The recommendations from the last JSNA included:
- Full implementation of the Child Health Promotion Programme (replaced by the Healthy Child Programme) across Cambridgeshire.
- Integrated children's services provided through extended services and Children's Centres focusing on family smoking, obesity, alcohol related harm, sexually transmitted infections and teenage pregnancies.
- Focus on preventing as well as tackling health inequalities with priority groups identified as: Gypsy and Traveller children; looked after children; vulnerable children; parents with problems or low self esteem; families in areas of high deprivation: Wisbech and North Fenland, North Huntingdon, North and East of Cambridge City.
These were included in Cambridgeshire's Sustainable Community Strategy and the Big Plan 2 from 2009 and progress has been made on these areas. However, they should not be lost with this refreshed JSNA and should be considered along with the recommendations made as a result of this new assessment.