The official launch of the Family Safeguarding Team, a completely new approach to child protection, was held yesterday (10 January) in Peterborough.
Peterborough City Council was successful in a bid for £2.8million of funding to pilot the team, which works with the entire family unit, in the family home. The service is a continuation of an approach piloted in Hertfordshire, which became the overall winner of the Guardian Public Service Awards 2017.
The Family Safeguarding Team will tackle the ‘toxic trio’ of domestic abuse, substance abuse and mental health issues, the main factors that put children at risk of significant harm. Its main aim is to reduce the number of children needing to be subject to child protection and to avoid care proceedings and children coming into care wherever possible.
Key speakers at the launch included Anthony Douglas, Chief Executive of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Scheme and workers from Peterborough City Council, including the family safeguarding team who will be working with families in the coming year.
Nicola Curley, assistant director for children’s social care at Peterborough City Council said: “We were delighted to receive the funding from the Department for Education's Innovation Fund to be able to deliver this scheme, which has already had great results in Hertfordshire.
“It delivers support within the family home and encourages families to tackle issues together, as a family. It also uses motivational interviewing to empower parents to think about what they want to change in their lives to meet their children’s needs.”
Councillor Sam Smith, cabinet member for children's services, said: "This is a scheme which already has proven success in reducing the number of children coming into care by using specialist adult support workers to partner children's social workers. It really builds a team around the family unit. Testimonials from families and social workers who have used the service in Hertfordshire are extremely positive.”