Right Balance for Families is a preventative model to stop problems escalating in the teenage years or identify a need for care earlier to improve long-term outcomes for these children. There is a high rate of repeat referrals to social work for 10 to 13-year-old children in need, approximately three times the average across the service, which indicates missed opportunities for this group.
By offering a family group conference, Right Balance for Families puts children and families’ wishes at the heart of the plan for them, ensuring that the service is building from their existing networks and relationships to help them develop more resilience.
The Family Group Conference Coordinator works with the family to map their network. A Right Balance family group conference is held in which the family set their own goals and create a family led plan. The social worker shares the response to the family plan with the family and helps to coordinate its delivery. A reflective systemic professionals’ discussion is held and they respond to the family led plan with the aim of best fulfilling the goals of the family and young person. The model also involves educational support based upon the ‘virtual school’ methodology.
At the end of December 2019, 171 families and 210 children had been involved with the programme. As of February 2020, the approach is being mainstreamed within Camden.
DfE funded independent evaluation will be published in 2020.