With Innovation Programme funding in 2014, Hertfordshire developed multidisciplinary teams to keep more children at risk of significant harm within their families, combined with motivational interviewing as the unifying method of practice.
Adult specialists, including social workers, domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health workers, operate alongside children’s specialists under a unified management structure, with posts funded by all partners.
Teams share motivational interviewing as a core practice, and information sharing is enabled at strategic and operational levels.
Family Safeguarding is now business as usual in Hertfordshire and partly funded by partners. The model received further funding to scale within four diverse authorities; Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire, Luton and Peterborough, and further national scaling is planned through the Strengthening Families programme launched in 2019.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation of the original model, published in 2017, found a 49% reduction in children on child protection plans, a 66% reduction in domestic abuse call-outs by police, a 53% reduction in adult A&E admissions and a 36% improvement in school attendance. In the first 12 months of the programme, 280 staff worked with adults and children in 940 families, 44% of which were experiencing domestic abuse. The estimated cost savings to children’s services from reduced care and child protection allocations in the first 12 months were £2.6 million.