Lancashire family safeguarding
We are redesigning our support services for families including early help and child protection services to families who need help.
Our new whole-family approach aims to reduce the number of children coming into care and enable children to be brought up at home wherever it is safe to do this.
Here is a short video from Edwina Grant OBE, Executive Director of Education and Children's Services on the introduction of family safeguarding in Lancashire.
A new approach
The Family Safeguarding model is a pioneering approach to providing help for families in need.
By bringing together children's social care professionals with specialists in adult mental health, domestic abuse and substance misuse we will provide wrap around support for parents.
Our local family safeguarding teams will provide direct help to parents so they are better able to look after their children, preventing them being taken into care.
Family safeguarding teams will work alongside partnership and early help teams within local communities.
Teams around the schools and local community partners will play a key role in identifying and supporting families who need early help.
Better for families
Family safeguarding focuses on a whole family approach and makes it easier for parents to access all the support they need from within one team.
This will help them deal with the complex issues of domestic abuse, mental health and drug or alcohol abuse that may harm their lives and those of their children, if these are not dealt with.
This new way of working will strengthen family relationships and help to reduce the numbers of children being taken into care.
Better for professionals
This new way of working will strengthen information sharing between professionals. It will also free up social workers time enabling them to spend more time working with families and less time on administration.
In other areas of the country that have implemented the family safeguarding model, children's social care practitioners report that this way of working increases their motivation and job satisfaction.
Information for parents
Our information for parents web page and leaflet were produced using this new partnership approach. You can download the leaflet here for use in your work with families:
Lancashire Family Safeguarding leaflet (PDF 6.82 MB)
How it will work
Without access to specialist help, children’s social workers alone cannot address the all risk of harm to children. This may be from the risks they are facing from parental mental health, domestic abuse or substance misuse.
Children’s social workers don’t have the specialist knowledge or expertise in these areas and need to refer parents onto other agencies where they may not meet eligibility thresholds and parents may be reluctant to attend appointments.
We're creating 21 co-located, multi-disciplinary Family Safeguarding Teams, including adult specialists providing direct help for families and their children.
We changed our focus from 'monitoring compliance' to engaging families and producing change through motivational interviewing.
Our innovation is founded on, and overseen by, strong multi-agency partnerships including:
- the county council
- National Probation Service
- recovery services (Change Grow Live and We are with You)
- the local Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust
Adult specialists across our 21 safeguarding teams are employed directly by these organisations.
The concept of Family Safeguarding is simple: enabling people who are working with the same family to work in a team, sharing the responsibility and focusing on positive change for the whole family.
Children’s Services have changed the focus of how we work with families towards a more collaborative way of working.
Our aim is to motivate parents to identify for themselves the change needed within their families and create the conditions around them to realise positive change.
It's important that as professionals we come together to support parents to identify their own reasons for change and the actions which they need to take to make the necessary changes to ultimately keep their children safe.
The overall aim of this new way of working is to bring about a long term change within families that is driven by the parents themselves. This positive change is therefore more likely to be sustainable for the future.
Our workers are trained in working with and supporting families to understand why we are involved and supporting them to make the necessary changes.
Co-location, shared recording systems and a shared practice approach all work to enhance collaborative practice and improve how we work with families.
Multi-disciplinary teams are made up of
- Social workers who work with families to support them to make the changes in their lives to keep their children safe.
- Children and family practitioners who work with families and children and provide support to social workers.
- Domestic abuse practitioners who work with those who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse to support them in understanding the impact of domestic abuse on themselves and their children.
- Domestic abuse officers are experienced staff from the National Probation Service. Their focus is to work with those that perpetrate domestic abuse, with the aim of breaking the cycle of abusive behaviour.
- Recovery workers who work with parents/carers who are experiencing difficulties with either drugs, alcohol or both, and support them to make positive lifestyle changes.
- Mental health practitioners who work with parents/carers experiencing mental health difficulties.
- Psychologists who work with parents/carers on specific aspects of parenting and how this may affect their children.
Our multi-disciplinary teams work with families to support them and address the difficulties they may be experiencing.
Previously, social workers could be compliance and task-focused, perhaps more rigidly following actions on Child Protection or Child in Need plans rather than more relationship based and focused on what will help achieve the best outcomes and positive change for families enabling them to stay together. Relationships with families could be more adversarial than collaborative.
Before and after case supervision meetings with their manager, the social worker would spend additional time contacting other agencies to gather information and discussing next steps.
Now, group case supervision includes all the professionals working with the family. The format, organisation and way this is recorded means it's more:
- solution- focused and
- with an emphasis of helping the family to utilise their strengths.
We've developed a new way of recording families' information in our Integrated Care System known as the 'Workbook' that aims to reduce the time social workers spend recording information.
The benefits of the Workbook are it:
- simplifies day-to-day recording
- is a multi-disciplinary recording tool
- guides the Family Safeguarding worker through the interventions they undertake with families
The information within the Workbook creates an integrated family assessment. It incorporates tools that support more collaborative work with families. This develops a deeper understanding of their dynamics and the impact for children. It helps to define priority issues and enables the team to set and track progress towards goals for each family member.
The single family Workbook for all professionals, combined with co-located working aims to reduce the amount of time spent on recording, travelling, meetings and writing separate reports.
The Workbook provides a succinct record of the case, and has proved helpful in reducing time spent preparing for case proceedings and maximising the time spent with families.
For further information email us at:
- Tell us if you are worried about a child
If you are concerned about a child being abused or neglected or about an adult that works with children call 0300 123 6720 or out of hours 0300 123 6722.
- Social care support for children and families
What social care support is, how we assess needs and how we provide help.
The Family Safeguarding Model was founded by Hertfordshire County Council in 2015, and has significantly reduced the number of children being taken into care.