Information for parents and families can be found on our accessing support  or child protection pages. This page is aimed at professionals and agencies, although parents and families may find this detailed information useful. 

Most families would recognise that they have a support network around their family, whether this is grandparents, friends and the local GP or community groups. Through this network, families receive enough support, advice and sometimes help which enables them to overcome usual day to day difficulties that many people experience. Through these universal or preventative (community based) services, most families thrive.

Some families, however, will experience more complex difficulties in their lives. Depending on the type and complexity of their needs, they may need to get more help from targeted services provided by public sector organisations. These organisations need to step in and work alongside the support that is already in place. A small minority of families will need help to cope with risks presented to the safety of some or all members of their family. When this happens, specialist services need to step in to work alongside the support that is already in place.

Think Family approach

When several services are involved in supporting families, the Council will ensure there is:

One Lead Professional

Nominated to co-ordinate the work with the family and help the family to tell their stories and share their concerns once.

One thorough family assessment

Which considers the needs of the whole family, how the issues inter-relate and the wider context and relationships which surround presenting issues, but places children's safety as paramount. The principle method for this in Cambridgeshire is the Early Help Assessment, although some services such as Social Care use a different assessment tool.

One family plan

Managed by the Lead Professional and reviewed through regular meetings with the family and services involved. The plan will always be co-produced with the family; their preferences for intervention will be considered and outcomes negotiated. 

Team around the family

All professionals who are involved with any member of the family working together to the family plan with agreed goals. The team will ensure they understand each other's roles and support each other.

The Council also wants to make sure it is:

  • Limiting the number of transfers families experience through Council services; one co-ordinated intervention is more effective than services taking it in turns and transfers between teams consume time, energy and so incur cost.
  • Committing to putting the child's needs at the centre and overcoming professional difference. This way of thinking brings together and identifies professionals working with a family who are then co-ordinated by one Lead Professional. The Lead Professional will ensure all professionals involved are working to the same goals and are able to share their own information relating to family members. It also ensures that families are being given clear and concise advice and work is not being duplicated or misunderstood. By having one Family Plan, all professionals are clear about the outcomes they are aiming to achieve and how their work complements each other.


All practitioners working with children, young people and adults should have an awareness of the Think Family approach and the processes that support this. All practitioners who have not yet attended training are encouraged to do so.

Workforce development and training courses (Click on 'Workforce Development Children' - look for 'Assessment and analytical skills' and 'The role of lead professionals' courses.

You may also be interested in:

Further documentation

Outcomes framework

Last updated February 2018

Size: 36.36 KB File format: docx

Lead Professional factsheet

Size: 56.41 KB File format: pdf

Family Support Plan

Size: 22.90 KB File format: docx

Personalisation Budget Request Form

For Lead Professionals

Size: 20.91 KB File format: docx

Personalisation Budget guidance

For Lead Professionals

Size: 19.89 KB File format: docx

TAF Meetings V1

Guidance on how to chair a Team Around the Family meeting and what should be considered / discussed at the meeting.

Size: 64.24 KB File format: pdf

Natural Consequences v1.0

An overview of the sanctions available to partner agencies. It has details of the sanctions, tools, powers and levers that are used by public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire.

Size: 85.00 KB File format: doc

TAF Meetings – Information Sharing v1

A document that should be signed by all attending the TAF meeting, detailing how the information will be shared in accordance with the Think Family approach.

Size: 37.50 KB File format: doc

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