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Family Safeguarding Model

Family Safeguarding in Peterborough

Most children who are facing the greatest risks to their wellbeing are those who live in families where at least one of the adults is struggling with mental or emotional health issues, substance or alcohol difficulties, or where there is domestic abuse.  Under the Family Safeguarding approach, children’s social work teams are expanded to include adult practitioners who are experts at supporting parents to address these challenges.

The Strengthening Families, Protecting Children – Family Safeguarding approach improves outcomes for vulnerable children and young people by involving multi-disciplinary teams in children’s social care. Initially developed in Hertfordshire, the model has resulted in significantly better outcomes for some of the most vulnerable and at risk children. It has saved an estimated £2.6m for Children’s Services in the first year. With additional estimated savings of £107,000 to the police, due primarily to a reduction in incidents of domestic abuse and £200,000 to the NHS due to a 53% reduction in emergency admissions.

As well as Hertfordshire and Peterborough other authorities practising, or set to introduce Family Safeguarding include Cambridgeshire, West Berkshire, Bracknell Forest, Luton, Darlington,Middlesbrough, Lancashire, Telford and Wrekin, Walsall, Swindon and Wandsworth. Family Safeguarding is one of three projects that make up the DfE’s national Strengthening Families and Protecting Children Programme designed to support families to stay together wherever appropriate and reduce the numbers of children in or at risk of care.


Family Safeguarding has three core elements:

1. Multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs): specialist adult workers with domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health expertise working within social work teams. Group case supervisions are also held with all workers allocated to a case.

2. Motivational Interviewing (MI): MI supports families in dealing with a variety of mental health, substance misuse and domestic violence issues planning and connecting them with the resources they need to achieve such change and helping them to find their own personal motivation for positive change.

3. Structured Workbook: a new method of recording case notes with the aim of improving information sharing, streamlining processes and reducing the amount of time spent reporting.

Find out more about how we have implemented the Family Safeguarding model in this interview in Social Work News with Service Director for Children’s and Safeguarding  for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough councils, Lou Williams. Interview from page 32.

The Family Safeguarding Model has already changed the lives of families in Peterborough:

You were my first helping hand on my recovery journey. You helped me through those difficult months

– Taken from a note written to one of our Mental Health Practitioners by a service user. See more here.