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DfE selects 3 local authorities to trailblaze Families First for Children programme

The Department for Education has announced that Dorset, Lincolnshire and Wolverhampton Councils will be involved in the wave 1 roll out of the new Families First for Children (FFC) programme.

The initiative, which was announced in February 2023 as part of the government’s children’s social care implementation strategy, ‘Stable homes built on love’, is a  response to the recommendations from the independent review of children’s social Independent review of children’s social care, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel report on child protection in England and the Competitions and Market Authority’s market study of children’s social care provision.

The programme will invest over £45 million from July 2023 to March 2025 to design and test ‘radical reforms’ across family help, child protection, family network support packages (FNSPs) and safeguarding partners policies.

It will draw on evidence and existing good practice, including that from other government programmes such as Family hubs and Start for life, Supporting families, Reducing parental conflict and Strengthening families, protecting children.

The new approach will include 4 key elements:

  • locally based, multi-disciplinary family help services, providing intensive, non-stigmatising and effective support that is tailored to the needs of children and families
  • a child protection response carried out by social workers with greater expertise and experience, and access to dedicated and skilled multi-agency input, working with family help to protect children who are suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm
  • greater use of family networks, with increased use of family group decision-making, facilitated by FNSPs to remove any financial or practical barriers family networks may face
  • updated and strengthened local multi-agency leadership through changes to safeguarding partner arrangements

Wave 2 local authorities are expected to be announced in January 2024.

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Published on 22nd December 2023