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Our work with Cambridgeshire families facing difficult situations features in a new national report.

The Annual Report of the Troubled Families Programme published this week by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government highlights good practice in Cambridgeshire.

Our Think Family approach, which involves working with a whole family at times of crisis or difficulty, means that most of the families that we work with achieve a sustained change and do not require further support from early help or children’s social care.

Only 10% of families require further intervention in the next year. By comparison, children’s social care re-referral rates average 22% across England.

Before the approach was introduced there was more of a focus on addressing a single issue, such as education or mental health issues, or to work solely with the family member who presents with a problem rather than working with the whole family to overcome interrelated issues.

Free training was provided to staff and partners which sets out the Lead Professional role, how to develop a family plan and agree targets with families, how to work in a co-ordinated way with all family members, and help them to overcome their problems and move on from challenging circumstances.

This way of working has been acknowledged by the families we have supported who said. “Our Lead Professional was professional at all times and was very supportive. He offered lots of suggestions and also guided us in the right direction for advice we needed or found the answers for us himself from the correct people” and “Our Lead Professional has been an amazing support to the children and myself through a very difficult time. Always at the right level and in a positive manner.

Councillor Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee, “Our Think Family approach has transformed the way we work with families over the last six years. This has, in turn, reduced the percentage of families who require more intensive support and the results have been recognised in this national report.”

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