Whole Family Support

Family Support

What is required by Plan 21-24?

The 10 principles of intensive family support will be embedded into the practice (planning, commissioning and delivery) of all organisations that support children and their families, directly or indirectly.

  1. Holistic and relational
  2. Therapeutic
  3. Non-stigmatising
  4. Patient and persistent
  5. Underpinned by children’s rights
  6. Community Based
  7. Responsive and timely
  8. Work with family assets
  9. Empowerment and agency     
  10. Flexible

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

Each of the engagements have emphasised the importance of family support in some form and examples exist in every children’s services partnership and organisation that The Promise Scotland spoke to.

There was concern that kinship carers, foster carers and adoptive parents are not sufficiently considered in relation to a whole family support model. The policy environment is siloed dislocated and does not allow for a holistic understanding of families lives.

Concern was noted across organisations about more children becoming at risk of being separated from their families, as the economic and social impact of the pandemic becomes more apparent.

The Promise Scotland is a member of the national Family Support Delivery Group which reports to the national collective leadership group for vulnerable children and young people that is jointly chaired by the Scottish Government and Solace.

In 2020, the collective leadership group produced a Vision and Blueprint for Holistic Family Support in Scotland that it intends to publish. This has received widespread support. The Family Support Delivery Group is tasked with developing a detailed work programme to achieve the Vision. Priorities have been agreed and work is now underway to scope viable activity with associated timescales.

The Scottish Government have stated that the finalised work programme will be a central mechanism by which it will aim to deliver the Plan 21-24 family support priority area of change.

The collective role of Children’s Services Planning Partnerships will be fundamental to its effective delivery across Scotland.

The Promise Scotland is in no doubt of the ambition for change, however there is concern that the scale of ambition and change required has not been fully acknowledged.

All local systems spoke about the structural and systemic challenges that are barriers to achievement such as between family support and adult support services; between

education and mental health services for children and young people and with complexity arising from one third of Integrated Joint Boards (IJB) across Scotland having children and young people services within them and nearly half with delegated child health responsibilities.

Disconnected funding sources and disparate statutory responsibilities are cited as obstacles to realising this action. Strengthened messaging around the accountabilities of the IJB within each children’s services planning partnership would be welcomed. Improving commissioning and procurement arrangements by aligning funding and priorities together with developing relationships, which maximise the impact of the third sector were raised

as challenges at almost all our meetings. The last national review of partnerships noted inconsistent engagement with the third sector and with adult services.

An important positive commitment in each of our engagement meetings was the recognition that there must be active engagement with all families who need, or may need at some point, these services. Listening and acting on the views of families was mentioned consistently and identified as an area where support from The Promise Scotland and others, could fill a gap in capability.

What has been committed to so far?

  • The Family Support Delivery Group will lead the national effort and influence local priorities. Its work programme will set priorities, milestones and outputs to achieve this action.
  • In addition to the Family Support Delivery Group work, the Scottish Government has committed to:
    • Working with partners to agree an approach to implementing the recommendations of the Review of Care Allowances. No timescale provided.
    • A Kinship Collaborative has been set up following a 2019 Programme for Government commitment with the intention of resolving the variation in support for kinship carers. The new Kinship Care Advice Service for Scotland includes a range of support, such as a helpline for kinship carers.
    • There is outstanding 2019 Programme for Government commitment to extend entitlement to funded early learning and childcare provision to two-year-olds whose parents are care experienced.

Who are the lead organisations?

At local level, the 32 Children’s Services Partnerships including the third sector, have responsibility for need, planning, resourcing, commissioning and delivering services/ supports for children and families. Annual reporting is required.

The Scottish Government plays a significant lead in setting the national strategic and legislative context. Members of the jointly chaired the Family Support Delivery Group are tasked with developing actions, priorities and the work programme.

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

Work is underway but does not yet appear sufficient.

The Promise Scotland will support and work with others to embed the systematic engagement of families in the redesign of intensive family support services.

Scrutiny, inspection and regulation requirements should focus attention on what is delivered and how.

The Promise Scotland will work with partners on developing the Human Economic cost model to support investment across children’s services in intensive family support.

 

 

Peer and Community Support

What is required by Plan 21-24?

There will be a consistent, national approach to ensure there are places in every community for parents of young children to meet other local parents, to stay and play with their children, and get support and advice.

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

The impact of the pandemic has meant that local children’s services have built on existing partnerships, seizing opportunities to innovate, such as early learning and childcare community hubs, and using schools as community hubs. Dynamic, local partnerships across sectors have been fostered and there is determination not to lose the gains achieved.

The Promise Scotland heard good examples across Scotland of local areas building on this experience to prepare for the 2021 summer holiday play programme.

Local areas wanted to ensure that the flexibility demonstrated during the pandemic should be the model for future development and achievement of this action. Additionally, that Children’s Services Partnerships should be given the scope to develop community-based facilities and support for families, as part of a consistent, national approach.

A small number of partnerships highlighted the opportunities to make better use of the school estate, the investment in early learning and childcare settings, and to make better connections with current or potential community supports- especially those delivered via the third sector and local voluntary groups.

What has been committed to so far?

No comment on the overall action required for this action was offered by the Scottish Government. The Family Support Delivery Groupwill consider if it fits within its work programme.

The Scottish Government did highlight work it is supporting across rural and island communities:

  • The James Hutton Institute’s Development of the Rural communities’ strand of its Scottish Government supported Strategic research Programme identifying appropriate opportunities to build a care-experienced-related strand into forthcoming projects from the summer of 2021.
  • The National Rural Mental Health Forum is to identify a potential network of care- experienced young people to take forward a targeted workshop to cover some of these issues.

Several largely rural and Island children’s services partnerships highlighted work to support children, young people and families who might otherwise be isolated. However, the impact of isolation and stigma experienced by those with care experience or on the edge of care, was also acknowledged.

Who are the lead organisations?

This is a practice and delivery issue with responsibility sitting with Children’s Service Partnerships with Scottish Government having investment responsibility.

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

Work is underway but does not yet appear sufficient

The Promise Scotland would support and work with others to embed systematic engagement of families in the redesign of intensive family support services if a national approach is developed.

Similarly, The Promise Scotland will work with partners on developing the Human Economic Cost Model to support investment across children’s services in intensive family support.

 

 

Service Integration

What is required by Plan 21-24?

Scotland’s family support services will feel and be experienced as integrated to those who use them.

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

The request for support from most Children’s Services Partnerships was to support their ambition to engage meaningfully with families to understand if services are experienced as integrated, for example with adult services, and if not, how they can be redesigned.

This was reinforced by members of the Children and Families sub-committee of the Coalition of Care and support Providers in Scotland (CCSP).

The importance of linking this work with implementation of The Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland was also mentioned.

The ambition of the GIRFEC refresh is to allow the opportunity to develop therapeutic family relationships and opportunities for positive support at an early stage.

Despite general recognition that this will be complex and challenging to measure, there is no disagreement that this is one of the actions that will help measure the effectiveness of a transformed care system and is therefore closely linked to the Data Mapping and Collection action.

Transitions are integral to the extent to which support is experienced and integrated, so is also linked to action around Moving On.

What has been committed to so far?

  • The Family Support Delivery Group will consider this action as part of its work programme during the period of Plan 21-24.

Who are the lead organisations?

Scottish Government has overarching lead responsibility in setting a service integration strategy. There are multiple strands of services and policy that impact on families lives. Delivery responsibility sits clearly with Community Planning Partnerships and associated Children’s Planning Partnerships.

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

Work is underway but does not yet appear sufficient.

The Promise Scotland will support and work with others to embed systematic engagement of families in the redesign of and investment in, intensive family support services.

 

 

Family Therapies

What is required by Plan 21-24?

All families will have direct and clear access to family therapies and specific support across a range of issues, so that accessing support is seen as something that a range of families may need throughout life.

What has The Promise Scotland heard so far?

There has been considerable and welcome investment and engagement in developing a trauma-informed workforce in children’s services as referenced in the Trauma Informed outcome.

Intensive family support is an area of expertise that the Scottish Government’s Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser (OCSWA) is committed to understanding and developing as part of Social Work advanced practice. OCSWA is committed to supporting courageous conversations with families together with long-term, meaningful and caring support, can be the catalyst for the change families need to care for their children in their own homes. This is closely aligned to the support required for adoptive, kinship and foster families.

What has been committed to so far?

  • The Family Support Delivery Group will consider the work required to develop and achieve this action in its work programme.

Who are the lead organisations?

The Family Support Delivery Group has key responsibility within Scottish Government, with Community Planning Partnerships having key delivery responsibility.

Links, Next Steps and Assessment

Work is underway but does not yet appear sufficient.