With Round One funding, Hertfordshire implemented a whole system change to the child protection system. Multi-disciplinary teams were introduced to keep more children at risk of significant harm within their families. Motivational Interviewing was established as the unifying method of practice, while a ‘workbook’ approach for the recording system has helped to improve practice, reduce bureaucracy and provide for integrated recording across all professional disciplines.
The outcomes in Hertfordshire were positive, including a 49% reduction in children on protection plans, a 66% reduction of domestic abuse call outs by the police, a 53% reduction in adult A&E admissions and a 36% improvement in school attendance.
The innovation will now scale up the family safeguarding model within four diverse authorities; Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire, Luton and Peterborough to develop a strong evidence base. It will also consider how Family Safeguarding could be implemented without the need for DfE grants in the future. The authorites will recruit adult substance misuse, mental health and domestic abuse workers within multi-disciplinary teams and develop their workforce with high level skills in motivational interviewing and group case supervision. The teams will be responsible for engaging families of children ‘in need’ and ‘in need of protection’, developing high quality plans and delivering support for parents to recover from substance misuse, access help for their mental health and change their abusive and violent behaviours.
Hertfordshire will also be extend their Family Safeguarding service and Virtual School to a) improve the educational attainment of children subject to Child in Need Plans and Child Protection Plans at the end of Key Stage 2 and b) add additional CAMHS support for children who have experienced significant trauma and attachment issues. The learning from the evaluation is that multi-disciplinary teams make a significant difference to outcomes, key performance indicators create opportunities for partner buy in and funding, and that process evaluation is less useful for sustainability.
Family Safeguarding is now business as usual in Hertfordshire and partly funded by partners. The extension projects are funded until mid 2019.
Director of Family Safeguarding
York Consulting LLP
Hertfordshire County Council, Luton Borough Council, Pterborough City Council, Bracknell Forest Borough Council, West Berkshire District.