As part of the proposals, East Sussex County Council will no longer staff drop-in sessions at Children’s Centres and instead they plan to offer the space and equipment for voluntary groups to use free of charge.
There are 25 children’s centres in East Sussex, including local one at Heathfield, Uckfield and Crowborough.
They offer support to children aged up to five years old and their families, including advice during pregnancy and when your baby is born, specialist support such as twins groups, training courses to improve life skills or help parents return back to work.
The County Council’s need to make millions of pounds worth of savings, coupled ongoing work to integrate with health visiting services is driving the changes. In future, greater focus will be placed on the important contact all families have with health visitors at five key points during a child’s development, and supporting families who most need it.
The emphasis on these services follows the Government decision to move the responsibility of health visiting services from the NHS to local authorities.
Cllr Sylvia Tidy, the county council’s lead member children and families, and Councillor for Crowborough said:
Over the next three years the county council will have to make savings of up to £90million, meaning less money to spend on services. We need to make sure that we use our limited resources to offer the help and support to those families with the greatest need.
While the way we deliver services will change, we are keen to look at how the facilities and equipment might continue to be used by families.
The proposed changes would contribute to the savings target of £4.6million for early years help for 0-19 year olds.
As part of the consultation, which runs until Friday 18th December, residents are invited to give their thoughts on which elements of council support are most needed, how the existing activities might be run by volunteers, and any other views on the proposed changes.
Feedback can be given online at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/childrenscentrechanges, or by posting comments at Crowborough Children’s Centre at Beacon Academy on Green Lane.