Intensive family focus introduction

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Stuart Collins
North London Business Park
Oakleigh Road South
London
N11 1NP

Phone number
020 8359 5512

Fax Number
0871 911 6184

Email
stuart.collins@barnet.gov.uk

Family focus team
North London Business Park
Oakleigh Road South
London
N11 1NP

Phone number
020 8359 7933

Fax Number
0871 911 6184 

Email
family.focus@barnet.gov.uk

Intensive Family Focus (IFF) Introduction

Please see further information in downloads on the left hand side:

• Family Focus – Barnet’s work with troubled families
 Think Bright newsletter
• Referral Guide for Practitioners

The Troubled Families Programme is a new, intensive, partnership approach to support troubled families.

National context

The government has identified that in 2010/11 around £9 billion was spent in England on just 120,000 of the families with the most complex, multiple problems. They identified 705 of these troubled families in Barnet, costing our local public services over 52 million every year.

In 2011 the government’s new Troubled Families Team invested £448 million nationally, to encourage local authorities to develop new ways of delivering services to these families. The funding, which includes some results based funding, is aiming for lasting change.

Barnet’s Troubled Families Programme

Barnet’s Troubled Families Division has now integrated its successful Intensive Family Focus and Family Focus teams to offer an intensive, extended programme of support for these 705 identified troubled families in Barnet. The teams are experienced workers with interdisciplinary skills, who will engage with other services in their aim of getting the family to a point where it can support itself.
The programme seeks to break inter-generational cycles of disadvantage, reduce risk factors for troubled families, and improve outcomes for both children and adults. We aim to identify the families at risk and provide support at the earliest opportunity, meet the full range of needs within each family which is supported and strengthen the ability of families to provide care and support to each other.

 Our main outcomes are:  

1. reduce the number of individuals involved in crime/anti-social behaviour
2. get children back into school
3. help parents get back to work
4. reduce costs for public services

Which families does the programme work with?

It works with families who are high cost to public services, and have two of the following criteria:

• are involved in crime/anti-social behaviour
• have children not attending school, or excluded from school
• have an adult on out of work benefits. 

The model of work  

The ‘think family’ model, is designed from evidence based research and includes:

• long-term intensive key worker support for families with complex problems
• early intervention family work to support parenting, and relationship conflicts
• low caseloads
• a dedicated, assertive, persistent key worker role
• an intensive, flexible response
• working outside traditional hours –including evenings and weekends not just ‘9-5’
• working for long periods of time (up to one year)
• care plans including sanctions
• collaborative role with multi-agency support
• support for families to engage with other agencies
• focus on improved parenting including parenting programmes
• specialist help for parents to find work
• challenge and Support’ positive approach

Once the family is engaged a whole family assessment is carried out involving the agencies already involved with the family, and the family itself. This may take several weeks allowing the practitioner time to build rapport.  A CAF /support plan will be drawn up and signed by the family and the agencies which are providing services.

This plan will state clearly:  

• what the worker will do
• what the family will do
• what work other agencies are providing
• any sanctions for non-compliance.