Family safeguarding model
Our new ways of working
Following a grant from the Department for Education's Innovation Programme we have launched Hertfordshire's ground-breaking Family Safeguarding Model. This achieved a significant reduction in the number of children with child protection plans by bringing together co-located, multi-agency teams.
The family safeguarding model is a way of keeping families together where it is safe to do so. This is achieved through a more collaborative way of working where we motivate parents to identify the changes needed within their own families. This helps achieve better outcomes for children.
We support families using a technique called Motivational Interviewing which is designed to empower parents to make the positive changes needed to achieve improved outcomes for their children and their own wellbeing.
Family Safeguarding Teams are made up of:
- social workers and family workers – working directly with parents and children, they are the case holders
- domestic abuse victim practitioner – working with victims of domestic abuse, we help them to recognise abuse and support them to make changes to protect their children and themselves
- domestic abuse perpetrator practitioner - working with perpetrators of domestic abuse, we help them to recognise the impact of their actions and find ways to stabilise their relationships and keep their children safe
- recovery workers – working with adults who are experiencing difficulties with drugs and/or alcohol, we support them to make positive lifestyle changes and help them to care for their children
- mental health practitioners – working with parents who are experiencing mental health difficulties
- clinical psychologists – working with parents using cognitive behavioural techniques (CBT) and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), as well as looking at different aspects of parenting
Our partner agencies
This model is supported by strong partnerships between the police, health, substance misuse and mental health services.
What are the Family Safeguarding Teams doing differently?
Our teams are:
- spending more time with children and families
- achieving change through the skilled use of motivational interviewing techniques
- using high quality reflective supervision listening and learning from our adult colleagues
- using a range of tools to develop an in depth understanding of family functioning
- using a workbook to aid streamlined recording
How our social workers feel about this model
The following are quotes from social workers in Bracknell Forest on this style of working:
"I’m getting to know parents better, they are opening up more, visits are more focused."
"Even if they did not seem to respond at the time when I went back they had done so much more than I expected."
"I am having success with the 8 module parenting assessment, mother is completing the direct tools and working well."
"I wouldn't want to work anywhere that didn’t have the FSM model."
A full evaluation report on the Hertfordshire model has been published evidencing improved outcomes for children and families.