Early Help team and Stronger Families programme
Why do we need a Stronger Families programme?
Although our services work hard to support families, we haven't always been effective in enabling families to make long lasting positive changes to their lives. The Luton Stronger Families programme promotes a different approach to working with families experiencing multiple difficulties.
Our aim is to support 1,940 Luton families over five years, 2015 to 2021, to make long lasting changes in their lives. The programme is ‘payment by results’ funded by central government. The income received will be used to provide a range of early help services across Luton.
So what’s different about the Stronger Families approach?
- We'll allocate a dedicated worker or agency to help families to address the underlying problems as a whole, rather than individual services/agencies responding to the presenting problem of each family member.
- We'll work with the whole family in a way which recognises how they interact and influence each other rather than viewing them as individuals with a problem.
- We'll develop a relationship with the family, be persistent and build trust with them in order to challenge them to make the changes they need to, step by step.
- Where appropriate, we'll draw in specialist services in a sequenced way at the right time for the family, rather than services being available on the basis of meeting thresholds and availability.
Which families are eligible?Each Luton family must have at least two of the following six problems:
- parents and children involved in crime or antisocial behaviour
- children who have not been attending school regularly
- children who need help; children of all ages, who need help, are identified as in need or are subject to a CP Plan
- adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion or young people at risk of worklessness
- families affected by domestic violence and abuse
- parents and children with a range of health problems
A single dedicated worker is important, as they will stand alongside the family, dedicated to change. They work with the family to an agreed action plan, providing practical hands on support and coordinating a wider multi-agency team around the family.
Family support workers hold a case load of typically six to eight families, with flexibility to hold up to fifteen families.
It will vary from family to family, and will depend on the sort of support needed. Some families may need help with, for example, getting children attending school regularly and help with finding work. Others may have family members involved in crime, or with addiction problems. Some may have all of these and more.
Stronger Families is about working with the whole family, not just the children, or a single family member. Each family will have a main point of contact who they get to know, who will help co-ordinate support services with them, and who they can contact when they want to talk about things, or need further help. We will also work with the family to put together a single family plan for help and support.
When we talk to families, most say they want support and encouragement. They want to be listened to, have their needs understood, have people do what they say they are going to and to get back to them, and services that work for, and not against them.
The aim is not just to fix problems, but to help people discover their own abilities, and become more independent.
We would expect to be working with a family for around six months.
Futures House, The Moakes, Luton, Bedfordshire LU3 3QB, Luton, LU1 5NP
Tel: 01582 548231