November, 2020

Children's Services news

Family Safeguarding Model continuing to improve the lives of children and families

A Department for Education (DfE) evaluation report has been published which shows that the Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding Model continues to improve outcomes for children and families in Hertfordshire and the ‘Wave 2’ authorities who adopted the model in 2018 – Bracknell Forest, Luton, Peterborough City and West Berkshire Councils.

The Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding Model was developed by local practitioners and initially funded from a £5m DfE Innovation Grant in 2015.

The evaluation shows that the Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding Model continues to deliver improved outcomes for children and families across all authorities who have implemented this way of working. It supports the wider roll-out of Family Safeguarding as it demonstrates the potential to improve outcomes and save money over time. The level of energy and enthusiasm for the model continues four years on, it demonstrates how family safeguarding is achieving its vision of more children being kept safely at home with their families and that it provides timely and high-quality specialist support for families.

The evaluation demonstrates for all FS authorities;

  • It shows a reduction of up to 30% of children from becoming looked after
  • Up to 46% reduction of the number of Child Protection Plans
  • Repeat police call-outs for domestic abuse fall by up to 64%
  • Mental health crisis contacts are reduced
  • Multi-disciplinary teams provide quicker access to joined-up and tailored support

What do FS staff say about working in Family Safeguarding?

  • They do not want to work in any other way; it’s the best model for delivering children’s social care and should not be re-designed or replaced
  • Motivational Interviewing is an effective way of working with families improving engagement and empowering parents to have a central role in the direction and ownership of their cases
  • Knowledge and skills have improved and they were able to work more effectively alongside colleagues
  • 97% said group case supervision results in the right decisions being taken on cases
  • It was easy for them to access support for families with issues around parental mental health, substance misuse or domestic abuse

“Families feel like they are working with us, rather than being told what to do. They are more engaged in the process and they do notice the difference. They feel that they are leading the process.” (Social worker)

What do families say about the Model?

  • They have been ‘worked with and not done to’
  • Their chances of making lasting, beneficial changes to their lives has improved
  • They don’t have to retell their story numerous times as all workers are well informed of their cases
  • Tailored support is provided within the home
  • It is more participatory, supportive and empowering than previous experiences of social services
  • They encouraged friends and family to view FS as an opportunity to work together with professionals to improve their circumstances and future opportunities

“I liked how the social worker took me seriously and listened to my opinion…I felt I was included, and we have got on much better because of that.” (Parent)

In Hertfordshire, the outcomes have continued to be sustained and the financial case for Family Safeguarding continues to be strong and make significant annual savings and does not become diluted over time. Practitioners continue to remain very positive about the model and its outcomes.

To view the evaluation report visit

As part of a new £84m ‘Strengthening Families, Protecting Children Programme’ the DfE have committed to funding a further 6 authorities to implement Family Safeguarding with the Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding Project Team. So far, Cambridgeshire County Council and Walsall Council have successfully launched the model with Lancashire County Council, Telford and Wrekin Council, Wandsworth Council and Swindon Councils implementing over the next four years.



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