How do we work with families?
Underpinning all Think Family Plus services and all services in Ealing is the Think Family initiative.
The initiative was introduced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) in 2008.
The basis of a Think Family approach is to co-ordinate the response to families in order to:
- identify families at risk of poor outcomes to provide support at the earliest opportunity
- meet the full range of needs within each family they are supporting or working with
- develop services which can respond effectively to the most challenging families
- strengthen the ability of family members to provide care and support to each other
- develop a corporate responsibility for families, incorporating a culture shift at all levels
Team Around the Family (TAF)
Families in Ealing may have numerous professionals involved in supporting them - schools, Jobcentres, mental health services, the youth offending service and many more. For families and professionals alike, it can be confusing to keep up with who is involved, what their role is, or remembering when meetings are due.
Central to Ealing’s way of working with families is its Team Around the Family approach. TAF is beneficial to both the family and the professional network; by having a central and main point of contact (the lead worker) for the family, support can be coordinated, gaps can be identified and duplication avoided. TAF collectively shares responsibility for improving outcomes for a family rather than relying on one professional to do everything.
The aim of the TAF is to:
- set SMART* goals
- identify support needs
- provide updates and information to the network
- delegate actions
- identify gaps and avoid duplication
- monitor and review progress.
*SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound
The lead worker is responsible for chairing and scheduling TAF meetings as necessary, and bringing together the family with its professional support network on a regular basis. Meetings can happen every other week or once every three months, depending on what TAF decides is the best way to bring about positive outcomes for the family.
Services are called to attend TAF meetings as appropriate and different professionals may attend at different times during the intervention. Wherever possible, families should attend the TAF meetings and should be actively involved in decision making, and be allocated tasks along with the rest of the network.
The Think Around the Family approach brings together services to support families in Ealing and to find positive and solutions-driven help. TAF will be considered for all Think Family Plus interventions.
Establishing level of need
In order to provide the most appropriate interventions to families in Ealing, the Think Family Plus service has been tiered into intensive and targeted levels of family intervention.
Families’ needs are identified by using the Ealing Multi-Agency Thresholds of Need Guide and also through initial discussions with allocated workers, who, in turn, will discuss the potential support available with families.
All families referred to the Think Family Plus programme must meet the government criteria.