A few minutes with…

Stephanie Farr, Assistant Director for Children, Young People and Families at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), formed by the recent merger of North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (NEPT) and South Essex University Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT).


Hi Stephanie, tell us a bit about your role.

Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) is commissioned to deliver children’s services across Southend, Essex and Thurrock. I am the Assistant Director for Children and Young People’s services and responsible for ensuring we deliver high-quality, efficient, effective and evidence-based services that meet the needs of children, young people and their families.

Our overarching philosophy is that “every child and young person will be at the heart of our services and together we will shape their future.”

Which part of your job are you most passionate about?

I ensure that the ‘voice of the child’ is reflected in all the services we deliver and that we learn from children, young people and their families. I work closely with commissioners, statutory providers and the voluntary sector to ensure services reflect the changing needs of families and meet their expectations.

I’m also involved in Southend’s ‘Success for All’ group, the strategic partnership leading the integration of children’s services across Southend. I’m also the EPUT representative on the A Better Start Southend Partnership Board, ensuring a truly joined up approach.

Tell us about the recent merger

When making the decision to merge North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust and South Essex University Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, we considered what best serves the long-term interests of local people who use the services, and their carers. EPUT is the result of the merger and is a significant achievement, which has helped secure the future provision of local mental health and community health services.

How does EPUT work with A Better Start Southend?

EPUT is working closely with A Better Start Southend, supporting and delivering services and programmes that help with children’s communication and language development. We offer group sessions and one-to-one support for parents of children aged 0-4 years, with a focus on prevention.

Learning about what works for local parents means we can adapt the programmes, ensuring we’re engaging parents in the right way. If parents or carers struggle to attend group sessions, for example, we offer one-to-one support in order to keep them involved. It’s all about finding what’s best for parent and child.

We’re also working on the Family Nurse Partnership ADAPT; an intensive programme for teenage parents that has been delivered in Southend for the past 10 years. As part of our work with A Better Start Southend, we are testing a number of changes to personalise the programme for individual parents, extending its scope and testing new material. The adaptations have been very popular with young parents and we’ll measure and monitor the outcomes for the young parents and their children over the next three years.

For more information on the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust visit www.eput.nhs.uk

Programmes delivered at Children’s Centres by EPUT and A Better Start Southend:

Let’s Talk with Your Baby: a six-week course designed for new parents and their children aged six to nine months. Each session is an hour long and focuses on parents’ and carers’ interactions with their children and their attachment skills through multi-sensory activities.

Talking Tiddlers and Talking Toddlers: five-week courses designed for parents, carers and their babies aged 12-18 months and 18-24 months respectively. These courses focus on non-verbal and verbal developmental communication skills and ways for adults to encourage their child’s understanding and talking in a fun way.

EPUT is also working with A Better Start Southend to offer WellComm screening of communication and language skills to all children aged 23 months, living in the A Better Start Southend wards. This helps identify potential communication and language difficulties early on.

Chatting Children and Super Sounds are two courses that have evolved as a result of parental feedback from the Let’s Talk with Under 5s course. Chatting Children is a five-week course of hour-long sessions and is designed for children aged 2 years +. Super Sounds focuses solely on phonology and has three hour-long sessions that are designed to enable parents to support their children at home.

Let’s Talk with Under 5s: a six week course offering a more formal classroom-based learning for parents, which means parents achieve an accreditation. Their children are looked after in a crèche.


Article published June 2017

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