A key principle of social work is that children are best looked after within their families, with their parents playing a full part in their lives, unless compulsory intervention in family life is necessary. Parents should be expected and enabled to retain their responsibilities and to remain as closely involved as is consistent with their child’s welfare, even if that child cannot live at home either temporarily or permanently. Taking a whole family approach to assessment and support can be effective in improving outcomes for families, ensuring that they receive coordinated packages of support that deal with both individual and family needs.
Innovation Programme projects in this area are exploring approaches to social care which places family at the centre of practice. Some of these focus on how restorative and systemic practice can enable families and practitioners to identify and find solutions to challenges that they face. Furthermore, some projects implemented multi-disciplinary teams and mobilised community volunteers to streamline care to build capacity within children’s services.