The rise in children entering care proceedings is a troubling and visible problem, with Department for Education statistics showing that the proportion of children in care has risen to the highest level on record. So concerning are these numbers, that an in-depth Care Crisis review is underway to look into the reasons behind it. So how can the rise be stopped?
Core Assets Children’s Services’ Safer Stronger Families model has resulted in the prevention of 600 children from entering care, with over 170 stepped down to less intensive statutory interventions and more than 30 children reunified with their families.
“During the Safer Stronger Families involvement the family circumstances at home dramatically improved. The parent is now supporting [the] emotional and physical needs of the children and providing a safe environment free from domestic abuse.”
Local Authority Social Worker
The model, which has been run successfully in several Local Authorities and Adoption Support services, aims to equip children, young people and their families with the skills and coping mechanisms to reduce unwanted behaviour and increase positive family functioning.
“The worker made a difference to me and mum has been better and kinder to me.”
It focuses on areas of need identified in a Family Action Plan, co-produced by the family and their named keyworker, with families actively working collaboratively on their own agreed goals over a number of weeks. Key Workers spend time intensively in the family’s home, working alongside children, young people and their parents/carers to help build resilience within the individuals and the family as a whole.
“Your input has been vital and life-changing. I’m a stronger parent as a result of new strategies….Your investment gave me my daughter back and provided the platform for a happy secure future.”
The Safer Stronger Families model is built on evidence based approaches such as Triple P® and Solution Focused Brief Therapy and integrates a number of outcome measures to ensure that achievement of goals and personal well-being are monitored and celebrated.
Safer Stronger Families is currently being used across a number of Local Authorities as well as wider funding initiatives, including a current Social impact Bond partnership and a Department for Education funded pilot, exploring the approach in the Adoption Support arena.