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Children and Families

Welcome to the Children and Families section of Cumbria’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) 2015 onwards.

The latest JSNA Children and Families chapter can be accessed via the link below:

JSNA Children and Families Chapter

Key issues and recommendations

As summarised in the above chapter.

Key issues

There are many children and young people’s health and wellbeing measures for which Cumbria performs better than the national average; these are identified later in this chapter. However, evidence provided within this chapter also suggests that the county performs less well than the national average in relation to the areas identified below.

  • 58.6% of Cumbrian children achieve a good level of development at the end of reception (school readiness); lower than the national average (60.4%). Furthermore, when compared to the national average: Barrow-in-Furness and Carlisle have lower proportions of pupils achieving 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English & Maths (50.5% and 47% respectively vs. 56.8% nationally); Carlisle has worse absence rates (4.9% of school sessions missed due to overall absence vs. 4.5% nationally and 4.6% of pupils classed as persistent absentees vs. 3.6% nationally); and Cumbria has a higher rate of fixed period exclusions (368 vs. 350 per 10,000 pupils nationally). The youth unemployment rate in Cumbria is higher than the national rate (3.4% v 2.9%), with particularly high rates found in Barrow, Copeland and Allerdale (5.8%, 5.3% and 4.9% respectively).

  • NHS Cumbria CCG had 385 observed unplanned hospitalisations for asthma, diabetes and epilepsy in under 19s in 2013/14; this equates to a rate of 381.4 per 100,000 registered patients under 19 (higher than the national average of 311.4), with under 19s admissions for epilepsy in the area being in the highest quartile of all CCG areas nationally.

  • Cumbria has worse rates than the national average in relation to mothers smoking at time of delivery (13.8% vs. 12% nationally) and breastfeeding initiation (66.4% vs. 73.9% nationally). Amongst Cumbria’s districts, rates of breastfeeding initiation are worse than the national average in Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle and Copeland. Breastfeeding continuation data is inconsistently recorded throughout the county.

  • 25.1% of Cumbria’s 4-5 year olds have excess weight; worse than the national average of 22.5%. Allerdale, Barrow-in-Furness and Copeland all have worse rates than the national average for this measure, with Barrow being rating worst out of all local authorities in England (30.6%). Additionally, compared to the national average, Year 10 females in Cumbria are less likely to say they enjoy physical activity (53% vs. 61% nationally) and secondary pupils in Cumbria are less likely to say they walked to school (35% vs. 40% nationally).

  • Carlisle has significantly higher rates of tooth decay in 3 year olds than the national average. In addition, Cumbria’s 5 year olds have higher rates of tooth decay than the national average (1.16 vs. 0.94 mean decayed missing or filled teeth per child nationally), with Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle and Copeland all having significantly higher rates than the national average for this measure.

  • Cumbria’s rate of hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries in children aged 0-14 years is worse than the national average (133.7 vs. 112.2 per 10,000 population nationally) and an increase the previous year (119 per 10,000). Barrow-in-Furness, Carlisle and Copeland all have significantly higher rates than the national average for this measure. Cumbria’s rate of hospital admissions caused by unintentional and deliberate injuries in young people aged 15-24 years also worse than the national average (160.1 vs. 136.7 per 10,000 population nationally) and an increase from the previous year (155.3 per 10,000). Barrow-in-Furness, Copeland and South Lakeland have significantly higher rates than the national average for this measure.

  • Cumbria’s rate of under 18s alcohol-specific hospital admissions is significantly worse than the national average (68 vs 40.1 per 100,000 population nationally). Allerdale, Barrow, Copeland and South Lakeland all have rates that are worse than the national average for this measure, with Copeland having the highest rate of all local authorities in England. Cumbria’s rate of hospital admissions due to substance misuse for 15-24 year olds is significantly higher than the national average (118.1 vs 81.3 per 100,000 population nationally).

  • Cumbria’s rate of new Sexually Transmitted Infections, including chlamydia, in 15 to 24 year olds was lower than the national average (2,575 vs. 3,433 per 100,000 population nationally). Cumbria has not reached the target Chlamydia detection rate (1,526 detections per 100,000 vs. national target of 2,300). Of Cumbria’s districts, only Carlisle has a detection rate above the national target. Surveys suggest that, of those sexually active, just over 40% of young people use condoms and there is low awareness of the Sexual Healthline.

  • Cumbria’s rate of killed or seriously injured road casualties is significantly worse than the national average (45.7 vs 39.7 per 100,000 population nationally). Eden, South Lakeland and Allerdale have significantly worse rates than the national average for this measure.

  • Cumbria’s rate of 10-17 year olds receiving their first reprimand, warning or conviction (known as first time entrants) increased in the most recent year (438 per 100,000 population up from 329 per 100,000).

  • Surveys suggest that Cumbria’s secondary school pupils are less likely to have a self-esteem score in the highest bracket than the national average (33% vs. 44% nationally). The fear of bullying amongst Year 6 pupils has increased in Cumbria since 2003 and is 5% higher than the national average. Cumbria’s rate of child admissions for mental health is significantly higher than the national average (110.6 vs. 87.2 admissions per 100,000) and has increased from the previous year (70.9 admissions per 100,000). Cumbria’s rate of young person hospital admissions for self-harm is also significantly higher than the national rate (467.8 vs. 412.1 per 100,000 nationally) and has increased from the previous year (458.7 per 100,000). Cumbria’s rate of mortality from suicide and injury undetermined in those aged 15-44 years is significantly higher than the national average (14.3 vs. 10.1 per 100,000 nationally).

  • There are a number of groups of children and young people identified within this chapter as being particularly vulnerable to poor health and wellbeing outcomes. These groups include:

                   Children Living in Poverty and Deprivation; 
                   Children in Need; 
                   Children Subject to a Child Protection Plan; 
                   Children Looked After; 
                   Children with Special Educational Needs or Disability; 
                   Gypsy and Irish Travellers; 
                   Young Carers; 
                   Children Living with Domestic Violence; 
                   Children Living with Parental Drug & Alcohol Misuse; 
                   Children Missing from Home; 
                   Children who are Homelessness or Not in Suitable Accommodation;
                   Children at Risk of Sexual Exploitation.

  • Barrow-in-Furness has a greater proportion of children living in poverty than the national average (20.4% vs. 18.6% nationally) and there are 10 wards in Cumbria which fall within the bottom 10% nationally for levels of child poverty. Cumbria has 29 LSOAs that rank within the 10% most deprived nationally, with 8.3% of the county’s population living these LSOAs.

  • In Cumbria there are 3,421 children in need (363.9 per 10,000 population), 325 children with a child protection plan (34.6 per 10,000 population), and 681 children are looked after by CCC (72.4 per 10,000). Cumbria had higher rates of these three groups than the national average in 2014. 11,203 pupils in Cumbria have SENs (15.6%) and 2,141 pupils have a Statement/ EHC plan (3%); similar to the national average (15.4% and 2.8% respectively).

  • In Cumbria 1,123 children aged under 15 (1.3%) are reported to provide unpaid care, with 90 (0.1%) providing 50+ hours unpaid care a week. Cumbria’s rate is slightly higher than the national average for this measure (1.1% nationally). Of Cumbria’s districts, Eden has the greatest proportion of children providing unpaid care (1.7%).

  • Cumbria has a lower rate of incidents of recorded domestic abuse than the national average (16.6 vs. 19.4 per 1,000 population nationally). However, Cumbria’s rate has increased from the previous year (15.7 per 1,000). In 2011/12, 92 parents in Cumbria were attending treatment for substance misuse (110.4 per 100,000 children aged 0-15), which was the same as the national average rate.

  • In the last year there were 1,017 cases of people missing from home for more than 24 hours in Cumbria, with under 18s accounting for 58% of these cases. Cumbria had a total of 63 applicant households with dependent children or pregnant woman accepted as unintentionally homeless and eligible for assistance in the last year (0.3 per 1,000 households); significantly better than the national average (1.7 per 1,000 households). In the last year 147 contacts have been made through Cumbria’s Safeguarding Hub for 16-17 year olds with a presenting issue of homelessness. There were 9,644 vulnerable child reports in Cumbria in the most recent year, of which 139 were relating to child sexual exploitation.

  • The Cumbria Intelligence Observatory found that children in need, children on child protection plans and children looked after are much more likely to originate from the areas of the county with the highest levels of deprivation and child poverty, while young carers in Cumbria are more likely live in areas belonging to the most deprived socio-economic categories (© 1979 – 2015 CACI Limited. This data shall be used solely for academic, personal and/ or non-commercial purposes).

Recommendations for consideration by commissioners

  • This chapter identifies many factors which influence the health and wellbeing outcomes of children and young people. In particular, the chapter highlights importance of the early years in giving all children the best start to enable them to stay healthy, as well as the detrimental impact that risk taking behaviours and mental health issues can have on outcomes.

  • Although each factor has been addressed in separate sections within the chapter, evidence shows that factors are clearly interlinked and should therefore not to be viewed in isolation. Furthermore, evidence also illustrates that there are a number of groups of children and young people who are especially vulnerable to poor health and wellbeing outcomes across many of the factors identified.

  • It is recommended that commissioners fully investigating the evidence base and consider all factors identified within this chapter holistically when developing services to support health and wellbeing outcomes of Cumbria’s children and young people, in order to provide a universal offer alongside targeted intervention for those vulnerable groups who are most in need.

Evidence and research

Evidence and research information including briefings and other publications supporting the Children and Families theme of the JSNA is available via the links below:

Further information

For further information relating to the Children and Families theme of the JSNA please contact:

Emma Graham 
Information & Intelligence Manager
Information & Intelligence – Performance and Risk Unit
Cumbria County Council
Email: emma.graham1@cumbria.gov.uk 
Tel: 07880 014854


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