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New support for the borough’s vulnerable families

Five pairs of wellington boots

The borough’s vulnerable families will benefit from greater support from the council following the launch of a revolutionary new way of working to help families become stronger and better able to support their children.

Following a grant of £1.9 million from the Department for Education, Bracknell Forest Council launched the family safeguarding model in late 2017, bringing together teams of professionals from a variety of specialities to support families to stay together.

Specialists in adult and children’s social care, domestic abuse, mental health and drugs and alcohol now work together to provide support to each member of a vulnerable family rather than working separately with a parent or child. Sharing information on the family between them, the team work together to ensure every family gets the right support and help to reduce the risk of more serious interventions.

As part of the launch, each specialist in the team has been trained in ‘motivational interviewing’, a technique used to help people uncover challenges they are facing and gain the motivation they need to help overcome them. Motivational interviewing is used to support families to identify and work towards the changes needed to keep their family together safely.

Cllr Gareth Barnard, executive member for children, young people and learning, said:

“We are committed to improving the life chances of all children in the borough and in most cases that means keeping children within their family unit.

“We recognise some parents need support with issues which may be affecting their ability to look after their children such as alcohol or drug addiction, experiencing mental health problems or domestic abuse. Through the family safeguarding model we aim to work as a team with those parents and their children to help them reflect on their situation, identify challenges and risks and create an action plan to improve their circumstances by tackling those challenges.

“The family safeguarding teams are already using the techniques they’ve learnt with the families they support and we have high hopes that over the next year we will see families improving their circumstances as a result of going through the programme. Our aim is to keep more families together safely, improve the health and educational achievements of children and reduce emotional or physical harm and neglect.”

To find out more about the family safeguarding model, please visit our family safeguarding page.