Traditional children’s social care systems can fail to differentiate adequately between ‘struggling’ and ‘harmful’ families. This can mean that some families are subjected to costly and unnecessary interventions. Relationships between organisations and families can be adversarial and unproductive, dominated by a defensive, deficit approach. This can result in families passing between services, with the workforce nervous about holding risk over fear of making a mistake.
We adopted a restorative approach, to help families identify solutions for themselves, instead of social care professionals making decisions about them. Alongside this, we created new structures and systems, including the reorganisation of children’s services into three separate locality-based teams. These teams co-located staff from each of the localities in central hubs and re-organised the early intervention teams according to age brackets of children.