What is the Supporting Families programme?
Supporting Families is the Central Bedfordshire programme for the National Troubled Families initiative. Through a Family Partner, it is a gateway to a range of additional support tailored to the needs of the family. The aim of the programme is to help families achieve significant and sustained progress in overcoming their difficulties.
Our council cannot deliver the Supporting Families programme alone. We work with partners in the Department for Work and Pensions, Police, Probation, Schools, Health, Youth Offending, Voluntary and Community sector organisations (including Children’s Centres), as well as a range of teams across the council, including:
- Community Safety
- Social Care
- Youth Services
- Children’s Services
Our aim is to support 1,090 Central Bedfordshire families over 5 years (2015 to 2020) to make long-lasting changes in their lives. Results-based funding is provided by central government. The income received will be used to provide a range of Early Help services for these families across Central Bedfordshire.
How does this programme differ from others?
- allocate a Family Partner to each family to help address underlying problems as a whole, rather than individual services / agencies responding to the presenting problem of each family member
- work with the whole family on a plan of action to an agreed time-frame
- develop a relationship with the family by working alongside them and building trust
- where appropriate, draw in specialist services in a sequenced way and at the right time for the family
Which families are eligible?
Each family must be experiencing problems in at least 2 out of the following 6 categories, and have a child under the age of 18:
- parents and young people involved in crime or anti-social behaviour
- children who have not been attending school regularly, or have been excluded
- children who need help (assessed through an Early Help Assessment), or children identified as ‘in need’ or subject to a Child Protection Plan
- adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion, or young people at risk of worklessness
- families affected by Domestic Violence or Abuse
- parents and children with significant mental or physical health problems caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, which may include substance misuse and addictions
What does the Family Partner do?
A single Family Partner will stand alongside the family every step of the way. They work with the family to an agreed action plan, providing practical hands-on help while also brokering and co-ordinating support from a range of partner services. Help will vary from family to family, and will depend on the level of support needed. The anticipated time-frame for support will vary according to the complexity of need, however on average we would expect to work with a family for around 6 months.
How will this benefit the family?
Supporting Families is about working with the whole family, not just individual family members. Each family will have a named Family Partner who will get to know them, help coordinate support services, and who they can contact when they need help. We will also work with the family to put together a single family plan for help and support in line with outcomes they have identified as important to them.
What if a family does not want to participate?
Support will not be provided unless families agree to it. Families do not have to agree to support being provided, however they do need to fully understand how the programme can help, and the consequences of refusing help. This will be fully explained to the family at the outset.
How can families be referred into the programme?
Referral into the programme is through the Early Help Service by means of an Early Help Assessment (EHA) (PDF 104.5KB) and also a Targets for Change (PDF 7.9KB) form, which must be sent in together to the Early Help team.
Self referral by families:
Please ring the Early Help Service on 0300 300 8585.
What happens to information / data you share with us?
Local partners of the programme will be identifying families with the most pressing and complex needs. This will involve some sharing of personal information between council departments and other relevant partners and agencies. Information will be held and shared securely and will be accessed only by those with a need to know. Any sharing will be necessary, proportionate and lawful for the purpose of identifying those families who most need this help and to ensure that services are better coordinated and focused for those families. Identified families will be contacted and invited to participate on the programme.
If you would like to know more, please contact 0300 300 8585 (Central Bedfordshire Council's Early Help Service) or 0300 300 6515 (Central Bedfordshire Council's Supporting Families Team).