New proven Family Safeguarding Model to improve outcomes for children and families

Telford & Wrekin Council is starting to put in place a new approach to family safeguarding which parents and carers say changes the course of their children’s lives for the better.

New proven Family Safeguarding Model to improve outcomes for children and families

The Council is one of a handful of councils that has successfully bid to adopt the Family Safeguarding Model through the Department for Education’s Strengthening Families Protecting Children programme.

The council now is working to put the systems in place to go live with the model next May. 

This is the latest step in improving the Council’s Children’s Services which earlier this year were judged as outstanding by OFSTED.

It reflects the Council’s commitment to protect care and invest in our residents to continue and to improve even further. 

This ground-breaking approach, based on Hertfordshire Council’s Family Safeguarding Model, is proven to be highly successful in improving outcomes for children and families.

It works by having parental mental health, substance misuse and domestic abuse specialists working together with children’s social workers, in one team.  All staff are highly trained in a counselling model that boosts parents’ confidence to change behaviours that cause harm to their children. 

 The model works with all team members recording their work on a new practice guidance and recording system, developed in Hertfordshire with the support of LiquidLogic. The teams are made possible by unprecedented cooperation between Children’s Services, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Probation, Public Health, Police and Crime Commissioners, Mental Health and Substance Misuse Providers and Police who help fund the new services.

A Department for Education (DfE) evaluation published today (4 Nov) shows that the innovative child protection model developed in Hertfordshire was effective at keeping more children safely within their families and helping parents to achieve lasting change. 

DfE funding to test the model in four other authorities has also achieved significant improvements.

The DfE evaluation supports the wider roll-out of Family Safeguarding, as it demonstrates the potential to improve outcomes and save money over time. The report finds a high-level of energy and enthusiasm for the family safeguarding model, and that it provides timely and high-quality specialist support for families. All of this leads to more children being kept safely at home with their families – the ultimate vision for family safeguarding.

The report shows that the new ways of working across the five authorities has:

•Cut the number of children coming into care by up to 30%  while Child Protection Plan numbers have reduced up to 46% 

•Seen repeat police domestic abuse call-outs to the homes of the families involved fall by up to 64%

•Reduced mental health crisis contacts, protecting lives and saving money. Support and programmes for parental domestic abuse and substance misuse is tailored and can be delivered in the family home resulting in better participation and engagement.  

Family Safeguarding staff across all five authorities say they would not want to work in any other way, it’s the best model for delivering children’s social care and should not be redesigned or replaced.

Families say the new model is more participatory, supportive and empowering and that they are “worked with and not done to”.

Cllr Shirley Reynolds, cabinet lead for children and young people said: 

“We were absolutely delighted to have been successful in our application to the Strengthening Families Protecting Children Programme last year to adopt the Family Safeguarding Model, so successfully pioneered by Hertfordshire Council. This evaluation is further evidence that adopting the model here in Telford and Wrekin is going to make a real difference to the children and families in our borough and we are very excited about working with colleagues from Hertfordshire with our 'go live' set for May. 

Our council priorities are to protect care and invest in our residents, and the evaluation demonstrates that adopting the innovative and collaborative Family Safeguarding approach, will be a great next step following our outstanding OFSTED grading earlier this year to improve the lives of our most vulnerable children and families and safely prevent children from being separated from their families."

For more information on Hertfordshire’s Family Safeguarding model 

For more information on the DfE’s Strengthening Families, Protecting Children Programme