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How Barnsley is joining up services for a ‘one-stop shop approach to tackling troubled families

Barnsley Council has taken a different approach to providing support for families who are experiencing crisis or vulnerability by co-ordinating multiple support agencies into a single team for each family.

Barnsley Council has developed a new way to support those families who require extra support during times of crisis or vulnerability. Strong Families, Strong Barnsley brings together multiple support agencies under the one team - a 'one-stop shop' approach - with the idea that having a single team working with each family rather than multiple people and teams. The aim of this is to ensure that the families involved don't 'drop' through gaps in the system and receive the care and support they need from the right services at the right time.

Arranged around four areas of the region, each team of practitioners includes a manager, social workers, family support workers, a health visitor, school nurse, a multi-agency co-ordinator and business support. Based within Berneslai Homes, responsible for managing homes on behalf of Barnsley metropolitan borough council, they are managed by a multi-agency leaders group, a stronger families team and a family panel.

Strong Families, Strong Barnsley works on a whole-family/person approach with the team working to identify priorities for the whole family not just one or two members. These might be anything from domestic violence and substance misuse to anti-social behaviour, housing issues or worklessness.

This programme is also proving to be a successful way of working to support families in crisis turn their lives around and begin to live the life they want to live. The programme currently has 300 families engaged and has "turned around" 87. This usually consists of getting children back into school (more than 85% attendance is the recommendation), reducing crime and antisocial behaviour and seeing adults make progress towards finding work.

Other programmes and projects are also starting to focus on this 'whole family/whole person approach in light of the government pledge under the Troubled Families programme to work with local authorities to help 120,000 families in England turn their lives around by 2015.

In Control is working with various agencies towards this aim, focusing on early intervention for young people who are in crisis or are vulnerable as a key part of supporting troubled families build better lives.

For example, recent work with The Mayday Trust and Blackburn Good Neighbours aims support young people to become active members of their community by addressing their issues through work to encourage them to identify their strengths, aspirations, significant networks and local resources and put together a plan that will aim to build their assets and give them an opportunity to integrate positively within their local community.

This project combines this 'Developmental Assets' approach from the US with personal budgets - being the first of its type to do so - so that not only do young people gain a plan of activity that helps them feel like a valuable member of their community but, where needed, also enables them to have a personal budget to support them to realise their potential.

In Control is also working on other projects that look at early intervention such as:

  • Worcestershire Improving Futures: Person-centred planning, support from a local person, backed up with a possible personal budget to support children at risk
  • Middlesbrough: Supporting children and young people at risk of being taken into the care of the local authority, or being in care

There is also a proposed round table discussion in the pipeline to explore how we can personalise the approach to early intervention and better support people at times of crisis or vulnerability.

To read more about Strong Families, Strong Barnsley visit: https://www.barnsley.gov.uk/services/childrens-health-wellbeing-and-social-care/information-for-practitioners/integrated-working-in-childrens-services/working-together-in-localities

To read more about BU Be Amazing visit: /news/in-control-news/new-programme-%E2%80%98bu-be-amazing%E2%80%99-launched-for-young-people.aspx

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Last Updated : 11 December 2013. Page Author: marijke.hirst.