Surrey Family Support Programme

Welcome to the Surrey Family Support Programme (SFSP). On these pages you will find information about the programme and guidance on how to refer into the service countywide.

What is the Surrey Family Support Programme?

The SFSP is a countywide programme that supports families within their local communities. There are six local teams across the county who coordinate help for families when they are experiencing a range of interwoven problems that are impacting on their family wellbeing. The service is delivered from our local district and borough council offices which act as a gateway for support. Families then receive a single offer of help and resources which is inclusive of the skills and expertise of a range of different services such as health, education, social care, housing and money management.

Families eligible for the programme are those families with complex needs requiring a whole family approach. These families will usually have two or more of the following issues: mental or physical health, historical or present domestic abuse, involvement in crime or anti-social behaviour, children with low attendance at school or behavioural problems and children in need of additional help and support within the home. Also parents and young people may be unemployed without a clear pathway into work.

The programme offers an opportunity for all statutory and voluntary agencies in Surrey that work with families to work together in a collaborative way around a family's needs until those needs are met.

What are the underlying values of the programme?

Surrey believes that all families:

  • are important
  • are individual, different and diverse
  • have values, hopes and aspirations
  • have strengths and skills
  • have knowledge, strategies and practical resources
  • face difficulties and challenges
  • seek out help and support
  • learn, grow and change.

The programme uses a whole family approach involving everyone in the family including parents, grandparents, young people and children. It allows families to build on their strengths while helping them to overcome some of the concerns and challenges they are experiencing.

The programme is a restorative one that aims to restore health and wellbeing to families and ensure self reliance and independence into the future.

The programme recognises that families are best helped by a range of statutory and voluntary agencies within their local environment. When agencies work together they best help families.

How can the programme help?

The programme supports families in areas that they have identified for themselves as being in need of support. Each family reflects on what might help them overcome their concerns and difficulties. A tailor-made package is created to support them in the best and most helpful way possible.

Areas in which the programme has helped families include:

  • Housing - budgeting, benefits, managing debts, essential furnishings and repairs, hygiene and cleanliness and community relationships.
  • Keeping families safe - looking after health and wellbeing, overcoming stress and depression, managing disability, eating and exercise and drink and drug use.
  • Couple relationships - co-parenting and managing conflict.
  • Parenting - building good relationships, communicating, developing routines and helping children to behave better.
  • School - helping children to get into school regularly and do well.
  • Difficult life events - managing relationship breakdown, supporting bereavement, trauma, loss, abuse and building a more positive future.
  • Moving towards employment - providing training, CV and interview preparation, voluntary work experience and preparation for work.
  • Creating new opportunities - helping families take up community activities and make friends.

How does the programme work?

Families are referred into the programme when a professional working with them knows that they meet the eligibility criteria and thinks they could benefit from the support being offered.

Once a family has agreed to the support, they meet one of the SFSP family coordinators from their local team. The coordinator helps them to think about what is happening in their family now and how they would like things to be different in the future. Agencies that the family have worked with in the past will share information with the family's consent so everyone can understand what is going on. This is called a whole family assessment.

The family coordinator spends time helping the family in their home several times a week for three or four months. This support is practical and down to earth. For example helping families de-clutter. During this time they bring together other professionals in different services who are able to offer different members of the family specialist help and skills to overcome challenges. This is called the 'team around the family (TAF)'. This team meets every six weeks with members of the family to discuss the family's progress and to keep offering the support that is needed. Together with the family they create a 'family action plan' that includes everyone's role and responsibilities towards the plan, including the family.

One agency leads the TAF and appoints a lead professional who is a person who can be the main point of contact between the family and professionals. The family can be part of the decision on who would be the best lead professional for your family.

Once the family has a TAF working well around it, the family coordinator will move onto work with other families in need of help. Hopefully the family will be making continued progress towards change, greater self reliance and independence although this may take up to one year. The TAF will continue to encourage the family towards their goals and monitor their progress. Some families may continue to need ongoing support from Surrey services into the future.

What are the benefits of the Surrey Family Support Programme?

The SFSP is appreciated by families and has received very positive feedback from local communities.

It allows multi-agency statutory and voluntary providers to work together to bring about family change. Partners find the service reliable and helpful.

The programme uses a common evidence based approach to working with families that is known to be effective. It has some key underlying approaches that determine best practice:

  • whole family working
  • single family assessment and family action plan
  • intensive in home support when appropriate
  • a lead agency and lead professional that 'grip the family'
  • tracking and monitoring of family progress.

This gives families the best possible chance of change and transformation towards wellbeing and positive outcomes and are ways of working that are changing the way Surrey services work with families to be as effective as they can be.

How many families can the programme help?

The SFSP aims to work with up to 1,000 families a year from 2015 until 2020.

Data sharing and the information we hold

The Troubled Families Programme in Surrey

Surrey County Council has committed to the Government to deliver the national programme in our area.

In order to fulfil our obligations it is necessary to share information with critical partners. This is not only in delivering the programme but also in evaluating its effectiveness.

In order to identify families, understand the difference we are making and focus on who can potentially access the additional support the programme offers, we will be sharing personal records that relate to you.

This might include records in relation to your social care, any involvement with the police, courts and probation, aspects relating to your employment, anti social behaviour, violence in the home, substance misuse, educational attendance and behaviour, vulnerable children and health issues.

The personal data of individuals and families will be linked with information from public agencies. Organisations such as the NHS and health organisations, Department of works and pension, the Police, the Ministry of Justice, the probation services, schools and youth offending team. The data includes both those people / families only assessed, but also those who have participated in the programme.

The reason to link the information is to help the government and local service providers understand whether or not the programme has been effective in reducing offending, truancy and getting people ready for work and to help improve the service over time.

Data agreements are in place to ensure that:

  • the data can only be used for carrying out research;
  • the linked data cannot be used to make decisions about individuals;
  • the linked information is anonymised to reduce the risk of individuals being identified;
  • it will be impossible for any person or family to be identified from any published reports;
  • the linked personal data will not be shared with or made available to the local authority or any other public agency;
  • all data is transferred, handled and stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act;
  • appropriate measures are in place to prevent unauthorised use of the data;
  • the data is destroyed after five years.

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