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Medway Council is making good progress to support families

13 April 2017

Families are being provided with increased support following the expansion of Medway’s Early Help strategy.

This work has developed from the learning of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Troubled Families Expanded Programme which issued its first Troubled Families Annual Report last week (Tuesday, 4 April).

Medway Council implemented the programme in April 2015, during the third wave of authorities to provide early support to families with underlying issues which, if left unsupported, can lead to children being looked after by the state. Medway has integrated this work as part of its Early Help strategy.

Latest figures show Medway is making good progress

The report highlights that Medway, compared with other third wave authorities, is making steady progress and has reached 8.4 per cent of its overall target to work with 2,060 families by 2020. Medway has been successful in reaching significant and sustained progress with 100 families and continuous employment with 73 families, making 173 families in total so far. This puts Medway on average with other authorities who began the expanded programme in April 2015.

Medway Council has been working hard to transform its services to families requiring extra support and is working even closer with partner agencies to do the same. Together we are helping more families than ever before. The number of early help assessments being undertaken across Medway has increased from 663 between April 2015 and March 2016 to 844 in the following eleven months (up until February 2017).

Multi-agency approach

In September 2015 the council started a multi-agency pilot of a new assessment tool working with families with additional needs. Seventy partner agencies have been involved in its design and so far feedback has been very positive, with staff saying the new tool is more user friendly and that the system reduces duplication. The learning and progress from the pilot tool will assist in the development of a new Early Help case recording system for all Medway Early Help practitioners.

The council is also offering training to all practitioners in Medway on the importance of providing help to families at the earliest point a need is identified.

We will continue to provide early support to families

Cllr Andrew Mackness, Portfolio Holder of Children's Services, said: “Medway Council is committed to working closely with its partner agencies to provide support to families. Although it is too early to know the real impact of the programme, it is unquestionable that the help provided at the early stages helps families to take necessary steps to ensure children regularly attend school and adults are put back on a path to work. It also helps to identify other important support that may be required and can help to reduce offending and anti-social behaviour, as well as other vulnerabilities. Medway is committed to supporting the Early Help strategy to ensure families’ needs are met and to help make a real difference.”