Empowering families to transform their lives
Merton’s Transforming Families (TF) service successfully supports vulnerable families to turn their lives around by helping them tackle problems related to unemployment, youth crime and/or anti-social behaviour, educational difficulties, and health problems. It is Merton’s response to the Government’s widely publicised Troubled Families initiative and has been delivering services since 2012.
To ensure that the services meets the needs of families the Transforming Families Team facilitates quarterly forums for parents and children, to give feedback on their views of the service.
If parents are unable to attend forums a manager will conduct a feedback session via telephone or visit, to ensure that their views are also heard.
Feedback from parents and children during quarter one of 2017 was very positive, and highlights how the team puts the families’ voice at the centre of practice:
TF supports families to have a voice in multi-agency meetings: A number of parents commented that the TF practitioner ‘raised their confidence’ and supported them to have a voice in multi-agency meetings which can feel ‘uncomfortable for families at times’. Parents highlight that having a voice is key to the process, as they do not always agree with the social work plans, and this needs to be heard.
Practitioners capture the voice of the child: One parent fed back that their practitioner had captured the voice of their child by engaging them creatively, using a book on a subject that the child is interested in; this promoted conversation and led to meaningful work.
The ‘Helping Families’ approach puts the families views at the centre of practice: Families were able to give clear examples of the benefits of the ‘Helping Families Programme’ approach, which they feel is based on their ideas about issues and goals. They appreciate the visual element of the approach and the opportunity to take some of the worksheets away and complete them in their own time.
TF workers are consistent and keep regular contact with the family: A number of families identified that the high frequency of feedback to them about the process is ‘why the team works’, and the fact that in the main, their allocated practitioner is the same throughout the intervention.
For more information on Merton’s TF programme contact the manager on firstname.lastname@example.org.