What is Family Safeguarding?
Family Safeguarding is a whole-systems and whole-family reform, bringing together all of the professionals working with the family into one-multi-disciplinary team. The professionals involved include domestic abuse specialists, substance misuse workers, mental health practitioners, and psychologists, all working together to address compounding issues of domestic violence and abuse (DVA), parental substance use, and parental mental health. Social workers and adult specialists work with families together, so that specialist help to adults can be promptly assessed and provided.
The DVA approach is designed both to support adult and child victim-survivors and to offer interventions to support perpetrators of DVA in changing their behaviour.
Through the Family Safeguarding model, the focus of child protection has shifted from monitoring compliance to engaging with families in a strengths-based way and producing meaningful change through Motivational Interviewing, a client-centred therapeutic style designed to harness motivation and enhance readiness for change. There is monthly group case supervision which includes all the professionals working with the family to review progress and next steps. Additionally, each team member has monthly clinical supervision with a team leader from their own professional background. This approach facilitates shared and informed decision-making about whether children are being harmed, and about what help and support to provide to the family.
The model also utilises a shared ‘electronic workbook’ to provide a succinct record of the case, and allow for easier information sharing between agencies, thus reducing the amount of time spent recording and entering information; time which can be instead spent on direct work with families.