Family Safeguarding was developed in 2015 by Hertfordshire County Council in partnership with University of Bedfordshire. Funding was provided by the Social Care Innovation Programme to implement this approach across the entire council. The model works on the basis of a whole-family approach and therefore requires the expertise of not just children's social workers but also specialisms within the fields of substance misuse, domestic violence and mental health.
In Hertfordshire, frontline social work teams for children in need and children subject of child protection plans are multi-disciplinary and co-located. This model required the council to look for ways to use the Liquidlogic case management software to support multi-disciplinary and integrated assessments. As a result, the Family Safeguarding Workbook was created.
A new way of recording
The Workbook sits alongside the Liquidlogic Children's Social Care System and consists of a number of summaries - "chapters"- one for each worker role involved with the family. Each worker is able to record their work and write a monthly summary, which is openly shared with the other workers in the team.
Because all staff are using the Workbook, the information can be combined to form an integrated family assessment. This is used to inform progress and help to direct their intervention. Monthly multi-agency group supervision sessions review progress. To support this new approach, workers are also asked to focus much more on recording significant information and to summarise activity rather than record every single contact. This, in turn, has freed up staff to spend more time working directly with children and families.