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Family Safeguarding

Family Safeguarding is a whole-system change approach to supporting families involved with the child protection system that includes the local authority, CCGs, police, probation, recovery service and mental health trust, tackling the impact of domestic abuse, parental substance misuse and mental ill-health.

This project is being scaled by Strengthening Families

Project Description

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.

Lead Organisation

Hertfordshire County Council


Hertfordshire Constabulary, Luton Borough Council, Peterborough City Council, Bracknell Forest Borough Council, West Berkshire District, East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Hertfordshire Valley Clinical Commissioning Group, Probation Service, Bench Rehabilitation Company, Change, Grow, Live Substance Misuse Service, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, mental health providers and the Police and Crime Commissioner


Hertfordshire, Luton, Peterborough, Bracknell Forest and West Berkshire


East of England


Funding Information

Funding theme: Rethinking Social Work

Total amount awarded


Round 1 Dec 2014


Round 2 May 2017


Other information