Think Family Co Durham

REVISED – County Durham’s Family Outcome Framework

September 2018 The County Durham Family Outcome Framework (FOF) sets out an agreed approach to evidencing when a family has achieved significant and sustained progress, ensuring our work with children and families is focussed on achieving measurable outcomes. A recent review of the FOF has resulted in the following key changes:

Education – for those children and young people with attendance below 30%, the following distance travelled measured outcome is in place: “Children and young people with attendance below 30% achieving 80% attendance over 3 consecutive terms”

Children who need help and/or protection – In recognition of the impact of parental conflict on children and young people the following additional outcome has been included: “Reduced family conflict at case closure or de-escalation, including resolving separation or contact arrangements”

Children who need help and/or protection – In order to demonstrate successful de-escalation from statutory services and early help services the following outcomes have been included: · “De-escalation of child protection or child in need plan and sustained for 6 months” (Level 4 cases) · “De-escalated of family plan with outcomes met and no referrals to statutory services for 6 months” (Level 2/3 cases)

The Families Outcome Framework has been updated to reflect these changes (County Durham’s Family Outcome Framework – September 2018) and can be accessed through the LSCB website What’s New page which directs Lead Professionals to the Practitioner Toolkit and Guidance page where the FOF can be downloaded.


Achieving Sustainable Change 

A two-day training course for front line staff working with families to make positive changes

Background The course will support participants to: Enhance Motivation through Motivational Interviewing techniques • Understand the nature of resistance and how it impacts on behaviour change • Look at the process of change • Practice skills to enhance motivation Identify and maintain goals and change by Using solution focused practice • Using solution focused tools

More Information and Booking

Review of County Durham Family Outcome Framework (FOF) 

As you are aware, the County Durham Family Outcome Framework (FOF) has been in place since early 2015 and is a key requirement of the Troubled Families Programme. This document is designed to act as a guide for frontline practitioners and managers across the County Durham Partnership to help demonstrate improved outcomes for all families with complex needs. It sets out an agreed approach to evidencing when a family has achieved significant and sustained progress, ensuring our work with children and families is focussed on achieving measureable outcomes. A review of the FOF has been scheduled for early 2018/19, as a consequence of new guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). In addition, the introduction of the new case management system across Children’s Services later this year provides a timely opportunity to review the document.

A initial revised version of the Framework is attached for comment and additional feedback.

Whilst most areas of the Framework remain unchanged - as it is felt that there ought to remain consistent themes, criteria and outcomes for the remainder of the Stronger Families Programme to 2020 - please refer to the following sections which have been revised:

Page 7 – Theme 2 Education – Revised definition to build in a ‘distanced-travelled’ measure for those children with extremely low attendance below 30% (see footnote 7), in line with recent MHCLG guidance
Page 8 – Theme 3 Children who need help and / or protection – This theme has been revised to have a greater focus on identifying those children affected by parental conflict. Additional outcome 9 has been added here.
Page 8 – Theme 3 Outcome 1 and 5 – These measures have been amended to attempt to provide a clear definition, following feedback under recent Payment-by-Results audits.

If you have any comments or areas of feedback across the Framework, please email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday 14th May 2018.

Stronger Families Family Fund Developments 

The Stronger Families Family Fund has recently undertaken a review. In addition to this, you will be aware that full service roll out of Universal Credit begins in County Durham next month, and the potential impact this will have on vulnerable families’ finances. We do envisage an increase in the number of applications being received and therefore are keen to make changes to prepare for this.

Key changes with the Stronger Families family Fund (essential household items):

The central Think Family team will source goods that have been approved as part of a successful stronger families family fund application – speeding up the procurement process as Lead Professional’s will no longer be required to identify suppliers, webpages/catalogue numbers etc. Completion of the HEAT by a member of the TAF will be a mandatory part of the process, however, the central team will not require sight of this but it may be asked for as evidence as part of audit procedures. A new application form will be based entirely on a families need and Lead Professional’s will be asked to identify priority items that the family need to improve the quality of their lives. There will also be increased opportunity for the central team to source good quality ‘used items’ from local furniture schemes which will particularly benefit those families that require a number of essential items.

N.B. completion of the budgeting tool will remain a fundamental part of the application form to ensure that the funding is being allocated to those families that are most in need.

In addition to being able to fund essential household items Lead Professionals can also apply for assistance on behalf of our stronger families with the following services:
Bulky waste removal – to safely remove bulky waste items from homes and gardens – full list of items that can be removed will be included in the application form e.g. white goods, furniture, up to 6 bags of rubbish.
Skip Hire – to provide the cost of hiring a skip, delivered to a family home, and then removed within 48 hours. Skip hire is a costly option for removal of rubbish and it will be an expectation that Lead Professionals will have to demonstrate the need for a skip instead of the bulky waste removal.
Child safety equipment scheme – to provide a range of age appropriate child safety equipment, delivered to the family home and fully installed by an external provider (provision of installation is now compulsory)

The existing handyperson service will continue without change.

We hope that these changes and additional services will allow for Lead Professionals to access a much broader, supportive package for families that are on the Stronger Families programme and will have a positive impact on levels of child poverty in County Durham.

All new application forms and further information will be available on the Stronger Families Operational Guidance webpage from week commencing 2nd October. We will cease accepting old application forms from 11th November.

Changes to Early Help Locality Forums

The following information is sent on behalf of Karen Davison, Think Family Coordinator;

Dear Early Help Forum Member

Re: Early Help Forum – Changes

As agreed at the recent round of Early Help Forums we are changing the boundaries of the North and East localities in line with Children’s Services locality boundaries.
We would also like to inform you of the newly appointed Chairs and Vice Chairs.

Therefore, the following will be in effect for the next round of forums:

South Locality
Areas: Newton Aycliffe, Ferryhill, Bishop Auckland and Barnard Castle
Chairperson: Nikki Harmer (CAMHS)
Vice Chairperson: Jane Birtley (Health)

North Locality
Areas: Stanley, Consett and Durham
Chairperson: Pauline Coglan (Health)
Vice Chair: Allison Underwood(One Point)

East Locality
Areas: Peterlee, Seaham and Chester le Street
Chairperson: Rebecca Angus (Housing Solutions/FIP)
Vice Chairperson: Emma Wright (One Point)

We will update the terms of reference to reflect these changes and will amend our mailing lists accordingly.

Resilience in Schools 

An update on the children and families element of Wellbeing for Life.

The paper will describe the rationale for the commissioned programmes and developments to date. The three core areas to be discussed include:
1. Community parenting programme (early years)
2. Resilience parenting programme (families with children aged 5 – 13)
3. Whole school approach to resilience (Durham resilience programme)

Durham Resilience Programme
Interactive Resilience Framework

Support For Prisoners And Their Families In County Durham

The County Durham Stronger Families Programme, County Durham Prison’s (HMP Durham, Low Newton ,Frankland and YOI Deerbolt) and the Safe Durham Partnership recognise the impact of a custodial sentence upon the relationship between prisoners and their families and are committed to improving the support offered to and accessed by prisoners and their families. The Ministry of Justice Green Paper (2010) acknowledged the importance of family relationships in reducing reoffending and preventing intergenerational crime. Research also shows that prisoners who receive visits and have family support on release are far less likely to reoffend. Nationally 60% of the prison population have dependent children and approximately 160,000 children experience a parent being sent to prison each year. Children with a parent in prison are more likely to suffer mental health problems than their peers and around two thirds of boys with a father in prison will go on to become offenders themselves.
For many families having a family member imprisoned can have detrimental consequences and there is no obvious way to identify families affected by imprisonment. Prisoner’s families need to be treated with respect and helped with appropriate information and support at the earliest opportunity in order to reduce reoffending and vulnerability thus improving children’s outcomes.

To facilitate effective coordinated support for prisoners and their families the Think Family Partnership Mentor will act as a Single Point of Contact for all any practitioner concerned about a family affected by imprisonment.

The Mentor will support practitioners to:-

help the family with prison visits;
make links with the NEPACs Family Support Workers based within each prison;
engage the prisoner in offers of support with a particular focus on preparing for release home and back into local community;
identify concerns or unmet need;
develop a ‘Team around Family’ where appropriate;
link the prisoner, his family and community services.

If you are aware of a family or you are supporting a family who may have a relative in HMP Durham, Deerbolt, Low Newton or Frankland. Please contact:-

Eve Hepworth: Think Family Partnership Mentor, Think Family Services
Telephone: 03000 261362 Mobile: 07769239682 e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Durham’s Stronger Families!

As you will know over the last year Durham County Council and partner agencies have been developing new ways of working with children, young people and their families who are facing multiple and complex challenges, know nationally as the Troubled Families programme, the intention is to work with over 1,320 families by March 2015 who:
· have children who don’t attend school or who are excluded;
· are involved in antisocial behaviour or crime (including Domestic Abuse);
· are not in work; and
· result in high cost services such as families with children on the child protection list, families affected by parental substance misuse, domestic abuse and mental health problems.

We are doing this by ensuring all agencies working with these families work effectively together using a ‘think family’ multi-agency approach to meet the needs of whole families, rather than focussing only on the child’s or adult’s needs in isolation.

Initially known as the County Durham Think Family Programme, the programme will now be called the County Durham Stronger Families Programme. This will provide a distinction between the specific programme and Durham’s broader ‘Think Family’ agenda which involves a partnership approach to embed a Think Family ethos and whole-family approach across all our services and organisations.

The funding for Stronger Families, which includes some results based funding, is aiming for lasting change for families. To date the programme has resulted in 257 families achieving positive outcomes including getting children and young people back into school, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour and getting young people and parents back on the road to employment.

Please find attached a short briefing regarding the rebranding of the programme , the updated Family Nomination Form and a pdf version of the Family Leaflet which will shortly be printed and circulated to all services. A newly developed website has also been created and will shortly hold practice guidance for frontline practitioners and managers

Please do not hestitate to contact the team should you require one of the Think Family Team to meet with your team/service to further discuss the Stronger Families Programme.

Think Family Team Think Family Services 03000 268904 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Stronger Families Briefing
Nomination Form
Stronger Families Leaflet