Family centres

Coronavirus and family centres

Family support workers, sometimes called outreach workers, continue to offer support to those who need it either face to face, by phone, email and video calling. Some of our buildings are closed but those that remain open have COVID-safe measures in place.

What is a family centre?

Family centres support families to find solutions to the parenting and relationships challenges they face and to grow in confidence to manage future difficulties. The aim of the family centres is to help families build their own resilience and self-reliance

Family centres are based as near as possible to our most disadvantaged communities, but families needing help anywhere across Surrey will be able to benefit from their services.

What support is available at my local family centre?

All centres offer parenting programmes and group activities about common issues, for example, strategies to help with family routines or keeping your children safe.

The type of services available at family centres include:

  • parenting courses, workshops and signposting to online parenting resources
  • support for parents to have healthy relationships
  • family learning sessions to help support children's learning at home
  • advice and support on mental health and wellbeing
  • advice and information about helping families eat better and move more
  • signposting to organisations that can help with financial advice
  • help for families to find clothes, equipment, books and toys for their children
  • Healthy Start vitamin collection points for families who have vouchers
  • support for families to access food vouchers, food parcels and hygiene packs

Individual family centre websites have a list of the services they offer and how to access them. These services are for families how need a little extra help and have met the criteria for support at level 2 set out in the Effective Family Resilience level of need document.

To access these services, both families and professionals can go direct to the family centre. There is no need to contact the Children's Single Point of Access (C-SPA). You can find out more in our One-minute guide to family centres (level 2).

One-to-one family Support

The family centres provide one-to-one family support where family circumstances are having a significant impact on the health, development or wellbeing of the child/ children. Families and practitioners working with families, for example, GPs, health visitors, schools, early years settings can request support for families who need targeted help.

You can find out more about how targeted help is offered, in our One-minute guide to family centres (targeted help at level 3) guide.

To find out if a family would meet the criteria for support from the family centres 1-1 family support offer use the Effective Family Resilience level of need document, this sets out a number of indicators to identify if a family may require targeted help at level 3.

You can make a request for support through Surrey Children's Single Point of Access (C-SPA), using the request for support form. A completed Early Help Assessment may also be attached to the request.

The C-SPA will triage the request and allocate the family to the most appropriate service parents should have agreed that they would welcome the extra help and given consent to share their information.

The family will be contacted by the Family Centre when parents have agreed that they would welcome the extra help.

Family support workers will offer support in the family home as well as at local community venues or the centre itself, whichever best suits the needs of the family at that time. The family centre bus is available to support families who are more isolated or where there are limited local facilities.

Family Centres will not be operating on their own, they will work closely with other services that support families, for example, health, schools, early years settings, local charities and other local services to make sure that families get the support they need.

What can I expect if I get one-to-one family support?

Meeting your family support worker

A family support worker will meet you in your home or another venue convenient to you. They will listen and hear how you would like things to change from the way they are now.

They will help you to identify your strengths and help you to think about how you might build on these to make your family stronger and your life better. They will listen to your concerns and worries and help you think about when they started and how they might be overcome in the future. This information will inform an Early Help Assessment to find out what support you need.

Meeting your team around the family

If the support you need requires a number of agencies to work together, your family support worker may set up a meeting between you and staff from other agencies.

You may have been working with some of these services in the past, and new ones may also be invited. These people will form a team around the family (TAF) providing different expertise and resources, so we can work together to meet your goals.

Working with you the people in the TAF will identify someone who can be champion for your child and be the point of contact for you, this person is called child's champion.

Regular meetings

You can work with your family support worker to agree the frequency of meetings and the amount of time you will put aside to meet, your worker will help you set goals for you and your family and create a unique action plan to help you along the way.

What commitment will the team give me and my family?

Our commitment is to work with your whole family, actively involving you all in the decisions that will affect your life.

What's expected from me and my family?

We need to understand what's important for you and your family, we would like you to agree to make a family action plan. It will set out where you are now, what you are aiming for and the support you will be offered to help you and your family.

How do I find out about local services in my area?

The Family Information Service provides a directory of services and activities for families with children 0 to 19 years (up to 25 for those with special educational needs or disabilities).

In this section