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Family Safeguarding Model praised by Minister

Large group of people in office environment smiling to camera

The achievements of the Bracknell Forest family safeguarding team have been recognised by Michelle Donelan MP, Minister for Children and Families, and Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families, for its success in supporting local families using the family safeguarding model.

The council’s children’s services launched the family safeguarding model in November 2017. Its aim was to support vulnerable children and families to identify and work towards the changes they need to make to stay safely together.

Since the project’s launch, the council has seen a 25% reduction in child protection cases, meaning more children are able to remain safely at home with a reduced level of intervention from the council. It has also enabled social workers to dedicate more time to supporting families, with a 33% reduction in ‘caseloads’ - the number of families assigned to each social worker, as less families are needing intensive support.

The reduction in cases and those needing more serious interventions is a result of the council’s efforts across its children’s services to improve outcomes for children and families.

The family safeguarding model was first developed in Hertfordshire with the Department for Education. It brings together professionals in adult and children’s social care, mental health, alcohol and substance misuse and domestic violence, giving families access to, and support from, the right team to help them overcome their individual challenges. It was launched in Bracknell Forest as part of the council’s transformation of the services it provides to residents.

Cllr Gareth Barnard, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Learning, said:

“The wellbeing of local children and families is always our first priority and it’s fantastic to hear the changes we’ve made by working together as a team are having such a positive impact. By reducing the number of families needing more serious interventions, our staff are able to dedicate more time to those most in need and inspire other families to make positive changes for themselves.

“Not only is this way of working making a difference to our team, it is also supporting partners in health and the police. Demand for services such as substance misuse and mental health services have also reduced since we started working more closely with these professionals under the family safeguarding model.”

Michelle Donelan MP, Minister for Children and Families at the Department for Education, said:

“The team all do so much to build a better future for some of our most vulnerable children, and with increasing demand for children’s social care services, the family safeguarding model has shown promising evidence of safely reducing the number of children coming into care and enabling more children to stay at home, thriving in family environments.”

Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families at the Department for Education, said:

“Bracknell Forest has made sterling progress in developing family safeguarding: focusing on the whole family, working together across agencies, with families and their strengths – fantastic.”

Teresa Heritage, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families at Hertfordshire County Council, said:

“The family safeguarding model has helped so many families in Hertfordshire. The success we have experienced is down to working in partnership, and we continue this approach through our work with Bracknell Forest to roll out the model and share our learning. I’m proud of what the safeguarding teams have achieved and the difference they are continuing to make for children in other parts of the UK.”

More information is available on the family safeguarding project page.