Family Intervention Project (FIP) update

28 September 2010

Current progress and issues relating to one of the LSP Board's areas of focus for 2010

Archived press release

What is a FIP?
A FIP is a targeted programme of intervention working with those families with the greatest and most complex range of needs. It seeks to join up a range of services and contacts with these families so that they are more effective in improving outcomes all round.

Project Update
The Family Intervention Project has hit a number of milestones and is about to embark on a period of consolidation and review. The next six months will be marked by the implementation of revised referral criteria, clearer publicity and an opportunity to evaluate the impact of the scheme for those families who entered the project six months ago. The revised criteria (subject to agreement) should enable greater flexibility in accepting referrals for families where Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) is not the primary concern, but risk factors are present that suggest intensive intervention much earlier can have greatest impact; this includes support for families with children on the edge of care, but also those at risk of tenancy enforcement, prosecution for non-school attendance or involvement in youth crime. This correlates with the priorities that have been identified by the new Coalition Government.

They specifically aim to:
• Reduce ASB / criminal activity and other entrenched problematic behaviour
• Prevent cycles of homelessness
• Achieve the Every Child Matters outcomes for children and young people

The FIP is currently supporting 17 families, which breaks down into 90 individuals in total. FIP Key workers have invested a considerable amount of time supporting each individual as part of a whole family package. Successes with adults include engagement with Talking Therapies, access to specialist parenting support and links into literacy support. Initial feedback from families indicates that they value the investment made in all of them, rather than just a problematic child.

Department of Education case load definitions count a family unit with more than five individuals as two families; by this definition the FIP is technically supporting 30 families. 7 of these have more than 5 children, including three families with seven children each living in the same street.

Vanilla Freelance Ltd is developing a toolkit for self evaluation on behalf of the FIP and is meeting senior stakeholders, including the director, Chief Executive and Police LPA Commander on 29.9.10. Vanilla’s input is helping redefine our thinking about which families we should target; there is more and more emphasis on support for families with younger children, particularly those on the edge of care. Anti-social Behaviour does not appear to be the primary issue, although a risk factor.

The greatest challenge to overcome has been perceptions of what success for FIP may look like and how to deal with families where consequences of non-engagement have been activated. This can be considered success where threatened consequences have been acted upon, but failure where that intervention has proven costly eg; eviction or child taken into care.

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