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Families First

Project start date: February 2015

We (Durham County Council) were awarded £3.26m to improve the outcomes for children with complex needs, as well as those requiring support to live at home. The focus was on creating a holistic practice and embedding a whole family ethos across children’s services.

Project Summary


Social work remains largely reactive and episodic, due to high volumes of work on cases with complex issues. Under these conditions, social workers do not have the capacity to offer the intensive family support that is needed over a longer timeframe, and are unable to sustain positive relationships with children and families over time.

We developed the Families First programme which involved: the creation of ten integrated, co-located, and mixed-skill social work teams to work with the most complex families, a programme of workforce development focused on reflective and holistic practices and a programme of communications and change management to minimise disruption.
We are continuing to implement the Families First programme by establishing an eleventh team and reflecting on the evaluation findings to improve practice.

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Project contact details

Please contact the local authority for further detail

Project evaluators

Kantar Public

Project partners

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