To receive an update on the progress of the Family Support Service.
The Panel received a report from the Director of Children’s Services which provided the Panel with information about the progress of the Family Support Service over the last twelve months (Item 8 in the Minute Book).
The Panel heard that the Service had brought together a wide range of skilled practitioners, offering effective interventions and the number of families engaged with the Service was higher then previously reached before the Service commenced. The role of the Early Help Hub was explained to Members, who noted its targeted service and how it identified appropriate agencies to support children and families at Level 3. It was highlighted that the number of cases open at Level 3 Early Help Hub at the end of February 2018 was 3288 children, with 45 per cent held by the Family Support Service in the Early Help Co-ordinator role, with the other 55 per cent co-ordinated by another agency acting as the lead Early Help Co-ordinator.
The role of Evidenced Based Parenting Groups was explained to the Panel and it was noted that a termly timetable of groups and courses were published and these had been identified to meet the needs of its local community. Attention was drawn to the importance of continuing supported engagement with families stepping down from Level 4.
The Outcomes Star assessment tool had been implemented in April 2017 to track progress and outcomes for all Level 3 cases, and Members heard how this supported families and methods of measuring engagement and progress were explained.
Members noted the support available to families assessed as Level 2 and it was heard that group work and surgery sessions aimed to prevent families needs escalating to Level 3 or Level 4. It was heard that the new Level 2 service had been well received by partner agencies, and officers also explained the range of innovative interventions being driven by Hampshire’s Family Support Service for children and families.
In conclusion, Members noted the effectiveness of the Family Support Service in playing a key role in promoting the educational attendance and attainment of Hampshire’s children.
In response to questions, Members heard:
· That the Family Support Service was an evolving service which would work closely with families where there was need identified.
· That there was a significant amount of support available to ensure children were kept safe on-line.
· That data was in the process of being collected in relation to the Outcomes Star assessment tool, and that the Service as a whole was continuing to evolve.
· That discussions with the police about implementing a pilot of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) programme were underway, and it was heard that this had proved successful in other parts of the country, with the aim to keep children out of care.
· That the right structure was in place for schools and other professionals to raise concerns relating to children and families needs.
· That money was allocated for activities depending on local needs, and demand for activities was responded to.
· That in terms of home schooling, parents would need to give a reason as to why they had chosen to home school their child. There would not be a duty for the Local Authority to then visit home schooled children from an education perspective.
Members requested that an update report be brought back to a future meeting.
That the Children and Families Advisory Panel note the continued progress of
the Family Support Service.