Every family that is allocated to our Intensive Family Support Service has already been identified as needing support. This is based on 6 criteria:
Education attendance and at risk of exclusion – where a child/young person has less than 90% attendance, out of mainstream education and or has more than 3 fixed exclusions in the last academic year.
Employment and risk of financial exclusion – where adults are in receipt of out of work benefits, Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET), the family have received and eviction order or Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP) at risk of homelessness and or have rent arrears, debts.
Anti-Social Behaviour and Crime – where a youth or adult is on licence/supervision order, offenders are being released custody and or there are recorded ASB incidents.
Domestic Violence and Abuse- where family members are known to the Police as being victims or perpetrators of domestic violence and or abuse.
Health, including Mental Health – where children or adults with identified needs are not engaging with available services, new mothers or partners with mental health issues, substance misuse issues, excessive drinking and or are overweight.
Children Who Need Help – where families are identified by the Early Help Hub, a child is subject to Child in Need or Child Protection Plan, a child with young carer’s responsibilities, pre-School children not meeting the Early Years Foundation Stage guidance or Health check scores, a child on adult domestic abuse and or a child or young person who has been reported missing.
The team of Family Support Workers (FSW) are highly skilled; together they have the knowledge and experience to provide the necessary support and guidance to achieve positive outcomes with significant and sustained progress. However, they cannot do this alone; they are only human after all.
As the lead professional, it is our duty to ensure we provide the best possible support for every family. Based on the Early Help Hub Assessment; FSW’s will have already started to gather information of the various professionals that are either already involved or should be involved, once again, this is based on the criteria for each family they support.
During the Warm Introduction/Handover meeting; consent to share can be obtained; this allows the FSW’s to begin communications with other professionals such as Schools, Colleges, Nurseries, Housing Officers, Benefits departments, Creditors, Police, Youth Offending Teams, Doctors, Paediatricians, Health Visitors, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Adult Mental Health, Domestic Abuse workers, Substance/Alcohol misuse workers and more. Initial contacts can be made by phone or email, although it is only when Team Around the Family (TAF) Meetings are held, do you realised the extent of professionals involved with each family. This can be quite daunting for parents and reassurance from the FSW is vital. Meetings are held every 6 weeks; it brings together all professionals, parents and on occasions the child or children. The aim is simple….To offer the most appropriate support and guidance, enabling each family to take back control and have a more positive outlook in life.
The FSW will lead the TAF meeting, everything discussed remains confidential; unless there is a safeguarding concerns raised. We then have a duty to contact Children’s Services to inform them of the concerns. Discussions will be based on the criteria, everyone is given the opportunity to talk, to share information and this includes parents and children. For example; Schools may be concerned that the children within the family have poor attendance; they have recently come into School wearing unwashed uniforms. Housing Officers have been notified there are rent arrears, if this continues this could lead to an eviction and the family could be made homeless. Police have had call outs to attend the family home. With support from the FSW, parent/s can share the difficulties they are having. Professionals could be told that the husband has recently left the family home, Mum had been subjected to years of physical and emotional abuse, the washing machine had recently broken, and she wasn’t receiving full benefits. Now that this has been shared, professionals, who raised their concerns initially, understand the reasons. The FSW will begin to note actions for all professionals; this will later be added to a Family Plan and will be the focus for the following TAF meeting. Using the example above; the FSW will action: To ensure the Mum attends a GP appointment as her overall mental health is poor, there will be further discussions around finding professional support around Domestic Violence, FSW will complete an Income/Expenditure form with Mum and submit this to Housing requesting a payment plan be put in place once the benefits are correct, Police will red flag the property to protect Mum if the husband returns, FSW will source funding for a replacement washing machine but in the meantime, School will provide additional sweatshirts to improve the appearance of the children, FSW will support with morning routines to improve the overall attendance.
As you can see, TAF meetings and a Multi-Agency approach, enables concerns to be raised, reasons to be shared and actions to be taken. This in turn, will provide positive outcomes for the family…..After all, that’s what our Service is all about.
To find out more please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org