New safeguarding model in Telford and Wrekin aims to help families stay together
A new way of working with borough families so that they can stay together, when safe to do so, is being launched in Telford and Wrekin.
The new Family Safeguarding Model is a whole family approach to child protection, providing help and support that families need from different professionals working together as one team. Our new multi-agency teams comprise of children’s social workers, mental health workers, adult recovery workers and domestic abuse specialists.
The aim is to improve outcomes for children and provide support for their families, offering tailored support to parents to enable them to create sustained change for themselves and their children with the aim to keep more children safely at home.
Other authorities who have adopted the family safeguarding model have reduced the number of children requiring long-term care away from their families, which is the best outcome for all.
Following a successful bid, Telford & Wrekin Council is one of a number of local authorities to implement the Family Safeguarding Model through the Department for Education’s Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme. The new programme will go live from today, 28 June.
This builds on the Council’s record of working with children and young people, rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2020.
Cllr Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People, Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “As an ‘outstanding’ authority for children’s services, we are continuously looking at ways to further develop and strengthen our offer of support to children and families in our borough. The introduction of Family Safeguarding will do just that.
“By working with a wide range of local partners, we want to bring a positive impact to our community, positive outcomes for our families especially to those who experienced domestic abuse, mental ill-health or substance abuse – so that they can stay together and children can remain safely at home.”
The council is hoping the new model will help keep more families together, where it is safe to do so.
The new service allows social workers and their so-located partners to focus on the entire family and to provide much-needed support for children to remain safely at home, improving children’s outcomes.
It focuses on parents’ mental health, substance misuse and domestic abuse through the creation of multi-disciplinary teams, investment in skills development to create change, improved information sharing and collaborative case recording in one place on a family record.
Parents and carers in crisis will be able to access support from one team and one point of contact as social workers work alongside partners including psychologists, mental health workers, domestic abuse and recovery practitioners.
Cllr Shirley Reynolds highlighted: “The Family Safeguarding approach is based on a strong partnership foundation and this model will only strengthen this further, through a multi-disciplinary way of working with our colleagues in health services, justice system and many others.”
Linda Massey, Independent Reviewing Officer at Telford & Wrekin Council added: “For me the Family Safeguarding model is a real uplift and way to move to a more positive relationship with our families and our local community. I look forward to implementing the changes and seeing the impact on the children and parents we work alongside.”
Family Safeguarding Model in practice
The Family Safeguarding Model was initially designed by Hertfordshire County Council to tackle the challenges around children’s safeguarding.
Kae, a parent in Hertfordshire, was a long-standing heroin user and had experienced the removal and loss of two children previously. She was pregnant, had serious offences for theft and soliciting, and had experienced long-term serious domestic abuse and suicide attempts, when she came to the Family Safeguarding team of Hertfordshire Council in September 2016.
"When I came into contact with the Family Safeguarding team, I was scared they would take my baby away. But instead, they listened to me and got other experts involved, a recovery worker and mental health worker and they helped me a lot.
“They gave me the opportunity to turn my life around. I didn't think there was light at the end of the tunnel, but with their support, I was able to tackle my demons and keep my baby.”